Surface soil (0-10 cm) samples from 53 sampling sites including rural and urban areas of Hong Kong were collected and analyzed for 16 EPA priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Total PAH concentrations were in the range of 7.0-410 microg kg(-1) (dry wt), with higher concentrations in urban soils than that in rural soils. The three predominant PAHs were Fluoranthene, Naphthalene and Pyrene in rural soils, while Fluoranthene, Naphthalene and Benzo(b + k)fluoranthene dominated the PAHs of urban soils. The values of PAHs isomer indicated that biomass burning might be the major origin of PAHs in rural soils, but vehicular emission around the heavy traffic roads might contribute to the soil PAHs in urban areas. A cluster analysis was performed and grouped the detectable PAHs under 4 clusters, which could be indicative of the PAHs with different origins and PAHs affected by soil organic carbon contents respectively.