Land-row villagers threaten legal fight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 November, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 November, 1999, 12:00am

Villagers facing eviction in Yuen Long yesterday threatened to take the Government to court in a fight for compensation.

Six families have vowed to appeal to the Lands Tribunal over the valuation of their property in Man Yuen Chuen, Yuen Long.

About 100 government workers and police officers moved in to clear a total of 117 structures in Ngau Tam Mei near Fairview Park at about 9am yesterday.

Villagers, including seven households from Man Yuen Chuen and land owners, have been given until December 9 to make way for a government drainage project after they refused to move out yesterday.

Their properties lie in the middle of a proposed flood diversion channel due to be completed in August 2002.

The site earmarked for the land resumption is occupied by 25 households, 16 shops and offices, two poultry farms and two godowns.

Indigenous villager Chan Yiu-ting, 41, who owns about 50,000 square feet in the affected area, said they had been told to move out a number of times over the past seven or eight years.

But he said: 'We had no discussions or meetings with government officials over compensation.

'The compensation the Government is willing to pay us is well below the market price and unreasonable.' They have been promised $138 per square foot but say the market price is up to $200 per square foot.

Another villager, surnamed Wan, who bought his three-storey house in Man Yuen Chuen 17 years ago, said his house was worth about $12 million but the Government would only pay $5 million.

Mr Chan said: 'It is impossible to use violence to fight with the Government. Like Sheung Shui villagers who scuffled with police, we will lose if we use violence.' He said officials had agreed to meet affected villagers and landowners in a week.

A Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau spokesman said families could file their case with the tribunal provided they had not agreed to a valuation figure.

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Gordon Siu Kwing-chue said land resumption in the north New Territories was handled according to proper legal procedures.

'We've got a clear law and policy to follow and there are also procedures for the affected to file their objections,' he said.