Buddhist defends tin-sheet temple

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 1996, 12:00am

A monk, who wanted to attract more worshippers by re-building a new and bigger temple, may end up losing the roof over his head.

Reverend Fah Koon, 63, who has apparently failed to win the support from his Buddha, sought help yesterday from the Governor.

Reverend Fah petitioned Government House against the Housing Department's demolition order.

He claimed he had been leading worshippers at the Bodhi Temple in Fu Yung Hill in Tsuen Wan for more than 40 years until the department ordered him to demolish the temple a few months ago.

The mainland-born monk said he suspected the Government wanted to force him out so developers could build commercial properties.

'I have been here for such a long time. I should not leave my temple and my shelter,' he said.

But the Housing Department said the eviction had nothing to do with property development. Ngao Tai-wai, an assistant housing manager, said the existing temple was not the one set up 40 years ago.

'We found the existing temple was newly built and not on its original site. It is next to its original temple. The original temple, in two separate huts, has been demolished,' said Mr Ngao.

'The temple is built on agricultural land. It is an illegal structure. No one can build any kind of structure on agricultural land without approval.' He said Reverend Fah could only re-build his temple on his original site, at a similar size.

Officers placed a warning notice at the temple yesterday, asking Reverend Fah to demolish his illegal building otherwise the department might knock it down later.

Residents in Fu Yung Hill said they did not know much about Reverend Fah. They said few worshippers visited the temple which was built with bricks and tin-sheets. Reverend Fah is the only monk in the temple.