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Team Members

Project Avenger is a joint expedition between the Explorers Club Hong Kong chapter, the Boy Scouts of America Hong Kong, experts abroad, local institutions and partners, and team members at two American institutions (the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and four universities in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong).

Project Leader, Adventurer, Explorer

Paul Niel

He has travelled the globe extensively for expeditions and other adventures that have taken him to places as disparate as Kamchatka, Papua, the Arctic Circle and across the Atlantic Ocean on a sailing yacht. Over the last 10 years, he has successfully climbed the highest mountains on every continent, the celebrated “Seven Summits”, and became one of a handful of climbers to climb two 8,000m peaks within 24 hours, Mt Everest and Mt Lhotse.

Paul has travelled to over 110 countries and drove a tuktuk more than 3,000km through India to raise awareness for girls’ education. Together with his wife, he completed the first coastal circumclimb of Hong Kong Island, mapping the coastal pollution areas of Hong Kong. He also lead several expeditions discovering uncharted mountain ranges in Eastern China and Antarctica. Besides frequent contributions to magazines and newspapers he has produced three award-winning documentaries that have screened at festivals around the world.

Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and a founding member of the Hong Kong chapter of the Explorers Club. An avid aviation enthusiast, he is still dreaming to travel faster than sound.

Deputy Leader, Explorer, Mountaineer, Amateur Archaeologist

Adam Janikowski

Hailing from Canada, Adam is an investment banker working for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce where he is responsible for ESG and diversified banking in the Asia Pacific Region. He has worked in London, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Calgary.

He was awarded degrees in Chemical Engineering and Classics from Queens University at Kingston, Canada, an MBA from INSEAD, and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado Schools of Mines with a focus on developing Resources in Space. He is currently working on a doctorate studying the privatization and commercialization of the space resources industry.

He has also been honored with admittance into the Order of St. John, a Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International, a Baden Powell Fellowship by the World Scout Foundation and by the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University. Adam is also a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Asiatic Society.

Adam Janikowski is a sportsman and adventurer having completed the Boston Marathon and the Athens Classic Marathon, as well as a successful summit of Mt. Everest in Nepal. As a member of the Explorers Club, he has led and participated as a key member of numerous expeditions.

Social Media Manager

Phoebe Lai

With an educational background in Geography and Hong Kong studies, Phoebe is in charge of our social media presence, ensuring as many people as possible learn about the Avenger and its context within the Battle of Hong Kong. She has previously worked with the Royal Geographical Society, Hong Kong.

Aviation Archaeologist

Dr Andrew Pietruszka

Dr Pietruszka is an underwater archaeologist specializing in the search, documentation and recovery of U.S. service members missing in action as a result of the nation's past conflicts. He is currently employed at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has also worked at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as forensic archaeologist, their laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Universities of Delaware and California San Diego.

Drew will lend his valuable insights on site context and artifact study to the team, through an innovative, cloud-based virtual archaeology approach.

Operations Manager, Archaeologist, Biological and Forensic Anthropologist

Winsome Lee

Winsome has just embarked her PhD journey this fall. Prior to this, she has awarded a graduate degree in Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Archaeology. She is a biological anthropologist by training. Aside as a learner, she works for various organizations, from humanitarian NGO to law enforcement agencies. Since 2017, she has partnered with a private DVI company on working on disaster relief and response.

Winsome has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work. Her education and professional experiences background are rather international, ranging from Europe to the States to Africa. At the same time, her research, and experiences merge with her writing avatar. She promotes public intellectualism and commits into science communication via her weekly column in local media in Hong Kong. She has published in total of 7 books in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Translated version of some are released in other Asian countries in 2021.

Archaeologist, Biological Anthropologist, Science Communicator, Filmmaker

Dr Michael Rivera

Dr. Michael B. C. Rivera is a Filipino-Chinese researcher, writer, public speaker and biological anthropologist based in Hong Kong. Obtaining his PhD in 2019 from the University of Cambridge, his main research focuses on how human history and development over the last six million years. He is the lead archaeologist managing the excavation of the remains of the Avenger that crashed in Hong Kong in 1945.

Dr. Rivera is currently working on establishing a greater presence of bioanthropological science in Hong Kong, in terms of research, teaching, laboratory and field projects, and public engagement projects. He has worked in/has other active projects in the Philippines, Japan, India, and further beyond in Southeast Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. Finally, Dr. Rivera has also worked extensively in making scientific work and research ideas accessible through various forms of teaching, social media and public engagement.

LIDAR and Remote Sensing Specialist

Sahib Singh Sandhu

Sahib Singh Sandhu is the Co-Founder and CEO of Specifix, providing services in data analysis, underground mapping, R&D consultancy and professional training courses. Formerly with the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Sahib creates terrain maps of the crashsite and 3D models of the historical artifacts using 3D data point and photogrammetric techniques.

Geophysical Imaging Expert

Dr Wallace Lai Wai-Lok

Wallace is Associate Professor at the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, as well as Visiting Scientist at the Federal Institute of Material Research and Testing in Berlin, Germany. He has been working on nondestructive and geophysical diagnosis and imaging of unseen members and hazards in underground utility and concrete infrastructures. His interests include survey and mapping, 3D imaging, and archaeological investigation.

Wrecksite Discoverer, Military Historian, Educator

Craig Mitchell

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Craig has had a lifetime passion for military history, in particular the Battle for Hong Kong. Craig discovered the wreck site in January 2012 after months of searching after an initial small fragment was first found and has been working to conduct a professional archaeological study since.

Craig leads a small team that studies the battle for Hong Kong in meticulous detail and actively searches for evidence to document before the passage of time erodes artefacts beyond recognition. The team has successfully returned numerous personal items found on the battlefield to relatives and family members as well as donating relics to schools and museums.

Craig’s interest in WW2 stretches into all areas, and he has discovered, explored and mapped dozens of Japanese wartime tunnels systems throughout the mountains of Hong Kong.

US Air Force Liaison Officer assigned to the US Consulate General; Representative for the USDoD

Stephen Alexander

Steve is the lead representative for the United States Department of Defense in coordinating Project Avenger planning and recovery efforts. Steve holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and has seventeen years experience implementing policy at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.

Military Archaeologist, Forensic Anthropologist and Archaeologist

Dr William Belcher

As a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist working at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Belcher will be helping to interpret Project Avenger's fieldwork data and digitized site information. His expertise includes the surveying, recovery and identification of military artifacts.

Bill specializes in site archaeology, forensic identification and environmental analysis.


Boy Scouts of America Troop 1 Hong Kong

Boy Scouts of American Troop 1 Hong Kong has been around since 1967. Their program achieves the Scout BSA's objectives of developing leadership, character, citizenship, and personal fitness for our scouts. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The team participants are as follows:

Adult Leadership
Michael Li - Scoutmaster 2019 - 2020
GP Yeow - Assistant Scoutmaster 2019 - now
Tyler Dewaal - Scoutmaster 2021 - now

Scout Youth
Mark Li
Alfie Yeow
Owen Yeow
Sean Poon
Jack Chou

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