Newly released official papers show that the UK government was nervous about handing Hong Kong back to China. So nervous that officials considered moving the whole population of 5.5 million to Northern Ireland!

The discussions were found in papers from 1983 that were released this week.

The idea was originally raised by a university lecturer as a means to revitalize the NI economy as well as save Hong Kong, which the lecturer believed had “no future on its present site.”

A Northern Ireland Office official, George Fergusson, raised it for discussion amongst colleagues in a proposal titled “Replantation of Northern Ireland from Hong Kong."

“At this stage we see real advantages in taking the proposal seriously,” Fergusson wrote.

However his colleagues did not take the proposal as seriously as he suggested and the idea went nowhere. Hong Kong, along with the full population, was handed back to China in 1997.