How much longer can Fairview Park row be a 'private matter'?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 March, 2009, 12:00am

As a resident of Fairview Park, I'd like to ask exactly when civil disobedience and criminal trespass become issues for police intervention.

Several times over the past week, neighbouring villagers and container truck drivers have blocked access to the private road leading to the residential estate. Private cars, school buses and emergency vehicles were all prevented from entering the estate of 5,000 homes. Police said this was a private matter.

Perhaps we have fewer rights in the New Territories than in other areas. There are many places on Hong Kong Island where, if I chose to park my car in protest, I'd be arrested in no time - and I wouldn't have to inconvenience 20,000 people first.

Just why are the villagers and truck drivers protesting? They are being denied access to a private road. Actually, the villagers are not being denied egress. Rather, truck drivers who rent the villagers' former farmlands to store containers are upset because they are being asked to make use of public roads. They claim this adds 3km and 15 minutes to their journey. I may be no mathematician but any vehicle travelling at 50km/h should complete this journey in 31/2minutes. And the bypass is, in fact, only 2km along the road. When you subtract the 500m they travel down Fairview Park Boulevard, it makes their journey 1.5km - a mere two-minute detour. There are no traffic lights or encumbrances on the new road.

The drivers claim the new road is dangerous as it's too narrow, but the lanes are wider than Fairview Park Boulevard. Their claim that the road they now must turn on to just before the entrance to Fairview Park is so narrow that it is effectively a single lane road, is laughable. Once the bypass, Kam Pok Road, was completed the government erected signs to indicate heavy vehicles could not use Fairview Park Boulevard. For reasons known only to the government, these signs are covered.

So why do Fairview Park residents continue to be victimised by the government's inability or unwillingness to act? It's been two years since a child was killed by a container truck at the entrance to Fairview Park. That's plenty of time to have sorted this out.

Bradley White, Fairview Park