Villager turned out of home hours after signing compensation deal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 May, 2009, 12:00am

A tenant has complained that he was forced out of his village house, zoned for redevelopment, by property developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) just hours after signing a compensation agreement with the Urban Renewal Authority.

Ko Cheuk-ming, who has lived in Nga Tsin Wai village, Kowloon City, for 40 years, signed the agreement after more than a year of negotiations and is still awaiting payment.

Shortly after he signed the agreement, court bailiffs arrived at his house and told him to pack up and move out the same day.

The court had twice sent him letters to inform him of the possession order granted in favour of the landlord, Cheung Kong.

After hours of negotiation between court bailiffs, Mr Ko and his fellow villagers, the authority made arrangements for Mr Ko and his family to stay in a flat in Tai Kok Tsui until he receives the compensation payment on Wednesday next week. Mr Ko has already been given an advance payment of HK$50,000.

The site is set for redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority working in partnership with the developer. Under the joint venture the two parties will share the redevelopment costs, which include building four residential towers. A few houses of the 600-year-old village - the city's last urban walled village - will be preserved in a conservation park.

Mr Ko said he was not ready to leave the house with his wife and two children just hours after he signed the compensation agreement.

'Why can't the Urban Renewal Authority co-ordinate better with the developer? Why can't the developer wait until I get the money next week?' Mr Ko asked. He said he had agreed on the amount of compensation on Saturday and thought the authority would, as before, ask the developer to defer the possession order until payment was made.

An authority spokesman said the developer had twice been asked to defer the possession order while negotiations were continuing but could no longer do so yesterday as the tenant had accepted the compensation.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) could not be reached for comment yesterday.