Hong Kong Island became a British colony in 1842, and the Kowloon peninsula, located just north of the island, was ceded by Qing China to the United Kingdom in 1860 under the Convention of Peking. A boundary line, today known as Boundary Street, is historically significant for demarcating the northern part (Chinese Kowloon, later New Kowloon since 1898) from the southern part of (British) Kowloon. The northern part of Kowloon remained part of China until it was also leased, this time as part of the New Territories to the United Kingdom in 1898 for 99 years under the “Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory”.
In 1903, the Hong Kong colonial government started to sell crown land by auction in Kowloon Tong. Various infrastructures such as electricity and transportation were gradually coming into fruition in the Kowloon district at the turn of the century. China Light & Power had built its first-generation plants at intersection of Ho Man Tin and Chatham Road in 1901, although the site was later recalled to make way for the construction of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR). A tunnel was also constructed under Yin Dun Shan (Yin Dun Hill), adjacent to Kowloon Tong Village, for the trains of the KCR (British section) to pass, which started operating in 1910 and running through Ho Man Tin. This resulted in the acceleration of the development of roads in Ho Man Tin area. Social life in the district began to be realised through the establishment of various institutions for health, education and leisure etc.: Kwong Wah Hospital, Yau Ma Tei Government School and the Fruit Market were all established in the vicinity, around 1911-13. Yau Ma Tei Police Station, still standing today as a neoclassical architectural heritage, was built shortly after in 1922.