Coma fears in Wedding Card Street hunger strike

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 12:00am

The former proprietor of a shop in Wedding Card Street pledged yesterday to continue an 80-hour hunger strike in protest against the area's redevelopment, despite her deteriorating physical condition.

May Yip Mee-yung, 59, had taken nothing but water since Sunday afternoon in her effort to halt demolition of tenement buildings in Wan Chai's Lee Tung Street and a doctor said she was in danger of lapsing into a coma at any time.

'She is very weak and is on the brink of a serious condition,' said former medical legislator Lo Wing-lok. 'We will try to offer her some sports drinks and she may need some treatment.'

But Ms Yip, who wore a mask and tied a yellow banner to her forehead throughout the day, refused any food or glucose solution.

Dr Lo, vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats, said her blood glucose level had dropped to 2.6 - well below the safety level of 3 - but she remained 'fully conscious'.

Ms Yip launched her fast in protest at the start of demolition in the street - nicknamed Wedding Card Street because of a profusion of wedding card shops - three weeks before the Town Planning Board is due to consider an alternative proposal from the H15 Concern Group of which she is a member.

The proposal calls for the retention of 30 tenement buildings, reducing the height of four proposed high-rises by five storeys and scrapping an underground car park.

Citing the high cost of restoration, the Urban Renewal Authority has decided to demolish most of the buildings and build new ones. It also promised an area for a social enterprise with the theme 'Wedding City'.

Responding to shop owners' worries that rents in Wedding City would be too high, the authority said it was considering a short rent-exemption period if they moved back.

Kam Fok Lai-ching, a member of the group, said the authority had consulted neither the residents nor shop owners about the idea of a Wedding City.

'We demand a comprehensive, open and rational discussion over the redevelopment of our home. We want to participate in the planning,' she said at a rally of about 30 protesters yesterday.

Another member, Lee Wai-yi, said they had no plans to escalate protest in the near future. 'We only want the justice which the residents have been fighting for years,' she said.

The protesters erected a cross at the construction site.