Academic Staff
Dr. TAM, Ka Chai

Associate Professor, Department of History


D.Phil. (Oriental Studies) University of Oxford,
M.Phil, B.A. (Hons, History) The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


(852) 3411 5064



History of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1645)
Chinese Legal History
Economic Development and Social Order of Ming-Qing China
Maritime and Transportation History
Historical Geographic Information System (GIS)


Scholarly Monographs


  • (2020) Justice in Print: Discovering Prefectural Judges and their Judicial Consistency in late Ming Casebooks (Leiden: Brill).


  • (2020) Ming Zhongwanqi de falü shiliao yu shehui wenti 明中晚期的法律史料與社會問題 (Taipei: Wanjuanlou).


Selected Refereed Publications


  1. History of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1645)


  • (2020) “Treasuring excrements as gold! Matters on toilets and excrement management of China as reflected by the casebooks from the late Ming 惜糞若金──明末判牘中的糞便處理及其相關爭議”, in Qiu Pengsheng 丘澎生 and He Zhihui 何志輝 (eds). Ming Qing falü yu shehui bianqian 明清法律與社會變遷 (Beijing: Falü chubanshe).


  • (2018) “Wan Ming Lüli linmin baojing suozai xinqi santi wenfa shenyude shiliao jiazhi ji qi suo fanying zhi Minzhong shehui qingkuang晚明《律例臨民寶鏡》所載《新奇散體文法審語》的史料價值及其所反映之閩中社會情況”,in Lee Kam-Keung & Kwok Ka Fai (eds). Ming Qing shi: shiliao yu keti xueshu yantaohui lunwenji (Taipei: Wenjuanlou).


2. Chinese Legal History


  • (2020) “Crying for Justice: The impact of public opinion on the local judiciary in the light of the late Ming casebook Mengshui zhai cundu 鄰保哭啼:從晚明判牘《盟水齋存牘》看社會輿論對地方司法的影響”, in Sun Yat-sen University Law Review, No.17, pt.2.


  • (2016) “The Evolving Institutions on Judicial Torture during the Qing period in the light of the revisions of the Law of “Deliberately Imprisoning or Interrogating Innocent Persons 從故禁故勘平人律例的修訂看清代刑訊制度的變化, Fudan University Law Review, Series 3.


  • (2015) “Controversies to the Morality and the Effectiveness of Judicial Torture in Novels and Casebooks from late Ming China 晚明判牘與小說資料所示的刑訊原則及效用爭議,” in Faguo Hanxue 法國漢學 (Journal of French Sinology).


3. Economic Development and Social Order of Ming-Qing China


  • (2019) “The unfinished Enterprise: the Cantonese Water Conservancy plan proposed by Tan Xueheng from the early Republican period 未竟之業:民初廣東治河督辦譚學衡的治水計畫”, in Social Science Research 社會科學研究 (ISSN 1000-4769), 2019, no.5.


  • (2019) “A Biographical Study on Tan Xueheng (1871–1919), the Last Naval Minister of the Qing Empire 清末海軍重臣譚學衡生平考論”, in Journal of Chinese Studies (中國文化研究所學報)No. 69, July 2019.


  • (2019) Huang, X.; Chen, L.; Xu, E.; Liu, F.; Tam, K. “Shadow of the Prince: Parent-incumbents’ coercive control over child-successors in family firms”, in Administrative Science Quarterly, July, 2019.


  • (2015) “Locking in Cangue forever: the struggles of Chinese Catholics under the prohibition of Christianity in the light of documents related to the Ministry of Punishment of the Qing period永遠枷號──清代刑部相關文獻所見禁制天主教下的中國信徒實況,” Journal of the History of Christianity in Modern China (近代中國基督教史研究集刊),vol. 10.


4. Maritime and Transportation History


  • (2018) Lau, J., Ng, A. & Tam, K. “The operations, management and governance of cruise terminals in Hong Kong,” in Stephen Pettit and Anthony Beresford (eds.). Port Management: Cases in Port Geography, Operation and Policy, New York: KoganPage, pp. 351-375.


  • (2017) Lau, J., Tam, K., Ng, A., Fu, X., Jing, Z. & Feng, J. “Effects of the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative on the wine import logistics of China,” in Maritime Policy & Management, DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2017.1405291, 1-15 (


  • (2016) “Transportation History”, entry of The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology (edited by The Association of American Geographers), Wiley.

5. Historical Geographic Information System (GIS)


  • (2015) Tam, K. & So, K. L. Billy. “The HGIS experience of drawing sub-county unit boundaries in the Jiangnan region of late imperial China,” in Mei-Po Kwan, Douglas Richardson, Donggen Wang, and Chenghu Zhou (eds). Space-Time Integration in Geography and GIScience: Research Frontiers in the US and China, Dordrecht and New York: Springer (ISBN 978-94-017-9204-2), pp.175-188.


  • Plus 2 books and about 70 journal articles, academic book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and conference papers.
Major Achievements
2017 STU Clark Distinguished Speaker, University of Manitoba Transport Institute, Winnipeg, Canada
2014-15 Early Career Award (傑出青年學者), University Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR Government
2004-08 Swire Scholar, Swire/Cathay Pacific Scholarship, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford


Selected Community Service since 2015
Committee Member, History Sub-committee, Museum Advisory Committee, the Leisure and Cultural Department, HKSAR (Since October 2020).
Committee Member, Committee on Chinese History, the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) and the Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), HKSAR (Since September 2017).
Manuscript Reviewer, Journal of Chinese Studies中國文化研究所學報, Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, Maritime Policy and Management, Bulletin of New Asia Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies 新亞學報, Journal of Transport Geography, Chinese Studies 漢學研究 and The T’oung Pao.
Manuscript Reviewer, the book series “Brill's Studies in Maritime History”, Brill.
Anchor to the TV Talk Show “Wuye jiangchang: lishi xigam hua 五夜講場: 歷史係咁話” of Radio Television Hong Kong (Since April 2017).
Presenter to the Radio PAU Programme “CHINA ON THE DOT 中國點點點” of Radio Division, PAU Programme Unit, Radio Television Hong Kong, Channel 1 (Since December 2015).
Anchor to the TV series “Recalling the Collective Memory of Hong Kong: Hong Kong, Oh Hong Kong 歷史回望系列: 香港香港” of Radio Television Hong Kong (2014 to 2015).
  • (09/2020-08/2023) Principal Investigator, “Fixing the outdated ancestral rule: the formation of the Hongzhi Wenxing tiaoli and the socio-economic transformations of mid-Ming China in the light of the Huang Ming tiaofa shi leizuan and other legal sources from 15th century”(General Research Fund, HKRGC, HK$662,000).


  • (09/2014-08/2017) Principal Investigator, “The Ming-Qing Transition (1619-1740): A reassessment from the legal angle” (Early Career Scheme, HKRGC, HK$598,996)


  • (02/2016-09/2016) Coordinator and Investigator of the Educational Project “Flipped History (反轉歷史)” for the Chinese History Curriculum at Junior Secondary Level in Hong Kong, commissioned by the Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (HK$200,000; February to September 2016; EDB[CD]PSHE/ F&A/60/ CH/1[1]).


  • (09/2012-08/2016) Research Team Member, Legalizing Space in China, Institut d'Asie Orientale (IAO, ENS de Lyon) & Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient (EFEO Taipei and Beijing Centers), project funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche of France (


  • (09/2012-08/2014) Principal Investigator, “Managing social order in Maritime South China: late-Ming (1550–1645) judicial court experiences”(General Research Fund, HKRGC, HK$508,101)