Brenda Chau takes land battle to court

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am


Socialite and barrister Brenda Chau Tam Yuet-ching is challenging a government decision to cancel her licences to two exclusive sites near a country park in Sai Kung which she has used for more than 20 years.

Chau, the widow of flamboyant fellow lawyer Kai-bong Chau, launched the legal action just before today's deadline to cease occupation of the 3,700 square metres of land near Ma On Shan Country Park.

She was told to quit the sites in March after failing to comply with a Lands Department order to remove structures erected in breach of licence conditions and for occupying adjacent government land.

Chau, seeking to apply for a judicial review, called the Lands Department's decision 'rash and unfair'. She said it was being unreasonable in taking into account 'rumour by mass media' that she wanted to surrender the sites.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post in February, Chau was quoted as saying she wanted to surrender the sites but the department refused her offer. However, in her application for a judicial review, Chau said she had no intention of surrendering the licences as the sites were being managed by her daughter.

She is asking the High Court to quash the department's decision to cancel her licence. According to the court documents, Chau was granted the licence in 1988. In early February, a site inspection by the department found that illegal structures including brickwork, a pond and a bridge had been built. Some government land was also illegally occupied.

In reply, Chau said the breaches occurred 'out of necessity', while the illegal occupation of government land was attributed to mistakes made by a government surveyor. She said she made all necessary rectifications but only after the deadline and after she was told her licences were cancelled.