Kuk urged to solve village eviction row

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am


Villagers threatened with eviction from homes that have been in their families for decades have called on the Heung Yee Kuk to step in to solve the dispute.

Seven families are fighting a bid by indigenous villager Man Fong-hang to move them from land in Mai Po Lung Village that he claims to own.

The village, near San Tin in Yuen Long, is home to several hundred people. The seven families, who are not indigenous, received notice last year that their leases had ended and they had to move out.

The residents said they had asked the kuk, the powerful rural affairs body that defends the interests of indigenous villagers, to step in and it had agreed to do so, but since then they have heard nothing.

'We have met Heung Yee Kuk members but we have not heard from them about our request,' said Keith Au Kwok-kuen, a representative of a concern group for the residents.

The residents said they had never heard of or seen Man during their decades in the village and that eviction would break up a tight-knit community.

Man is taking his case to the Lands Tribunal, which held a brief hearing on the case yesterday.

The next hearing has been set for September 12, but no date has been set for a full hearing of the case.

The residents gathered to chant slogans outside the tribunal before the hearing.

One of them, Choy Chun-hung, said his family had lived in the village for four generations.

To be considered indigenous, families must be able to trace their history in a village to before the New Territories became part of the British colony of Hong Kong in 1898.

'I don't know what we will do if we really have to leave,' he said.

'We have a close community here and if we have to go, we will get separated.

'My grandfather has a shop selling snacks and beverages. People like to get together there, and we would lose that, too.'

He said more than 10 family members lived in the house full-time, while a further 10 lived there on and off.

Man could not be reached for comment and the kuk said it had no information about the case to release to the media.