Developer told to end fight over loss of land

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2007, 12:00am

Lawyers for two squatters who won possession of a block of land after a long court battle with a subsidiary of Henderson Land have issued a plea for the developer to stop trying to drag their clients back into court.

The call came after Harvest Good Development was refused leave by the Court of Appeal to take its complaints over the laws under which it lost the land near Tai Po to the Court of Final Appeal.

Harvest Good is seeking to overturn a decision made last December by Mr Justice Michael Hartmann dismissing an application for judicial review of the laws under which title in the land, worth more than HK$30 million, passed to Wong Yam-tai and her daughter, Chan Suk-yin.

At the time, Mr Justice Hartmann vilified the way the company had used the courts as an abuse of process, and refused to allow it to name the two women as parties to the review.

Yesterday, Harvest Good sought leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision. Permission was refused by the court's vice-president, Mr Justice Anthony Rogers, and Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung.

After the ruling, the women's lawyer, Patrick Rattigan, said: 'This is an impassioned plea to leave my clients alone. They are fed up with this.'

The Court of Final Appeal ruled in January last year that Ms Wong and Ms Chan had spent enough time on the land to undo any title Harvest Good or its owner, Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee, might once have held.

The application for judicial review was filed the next day. The decision the company sought to challenge was the government's refusal of a demand that it change the law and pay compensation for the loss of title.

Mr Justice Rogers told Harvest Good in dismissing the application yesterday: 'Those points should have been raised in the previous litigation.' He ordered it to pay costs.