Sport official warns of protests if hub moves to Lantau
Athletes and sports officials will take to the streets in protest if the government moves the proposed Kai Tak sports hub to Lantau Island, a key figure in the sports community warned on Monday.
Victor Hui Chun-fui, Hong Kong Olympic Committee vice-president and a member of the Sports Commission, the government’s sports policy advisory arm, said the sports community was “furious” about reports of abandoning the Kai Tak plan and instead using the site to build flats.
“Taking to the streets will be the last resort, but if the reports are true, then I don’t think it will be hard to mobilise people for a protest,” said Hui, who has been a key figure in Hong Kong sports for 40 years. He is a former chairman the Sports Development Board, the Sports Institute, the government’s Elite Sports Committee and the Hong Kong Football Association.
“I am not speaking for the Sports Commission or the Olympic Committee, but abandoning the Kai Tak plan would be a massive letdown,” Hui said. “In his election manifesto, the chief executive [Leung Chun-ying] pledged his support to the Kai Tak project. He repeated that pledge at a reception when our athletes returned from the London Olympic Games in August.
“Now, just a couple of months on, the government appears to be having second thoughts. It seems to the sports community that the government is lacking integrity in this case.”
Hui, who is also the president of the Volleyball Association, cited his sport as one that desperately needs new facilities.
Pang Chung, honorary secretary of the Olympic Committee, said the Kai Tak sports project, first proposed in 2000, might take another 20 years to complete if the government changed the plan now.
The Kai Tak development – hailed as the “Heritage, Green, Sports and Tourism Hub of Hong Kong” – aims to provide high-quality living with lower density and more open space in an urban node, accommodating 89,800 residents. It would also be home to a world-class sports complex and cruise terminal.
But late last month, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said Kai Tak’s design and development density was under review because of a serious lack of housing sites.