Legislators set to back rail link

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am

Lawmakers will approve the Hong Kong-Guangzhou high-speed rail link tomorrow despite protests against the HK$65.2 billion project.

Thirteen of the 25 legislators to vote at the Finance Committee's public works subcommittee said they would give their support.

'If we do not build the railway, we will be marginalised,' said Chan Kam-lam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, adding that it was a lifeline to maintain the city's position in the mainland economy and achieve integration with Guangdong.

Liberal Party and Economic Synergy legislators support the plan, but pan-democratic camp lawmakers are against it and have questioned its huge cost and effectiveness.

On Sunday about 100 protesters - including Tsoi Yuen Tsuen villagers whose homes will be razed to make way for the railway - stormed the Central Government Offices compound demanding a halt to the project. They broke into the compound and held a sit-in at about 6pm after more than 3,000 people had joined a march campaigning for democratic urban planning.

Chief Superintendent Winnie Chiu Wai-yin, the Central District police commander, said officers resorted to force in the early hours after the protesters defied five calls to disperse.

'These protesters refused to leave even after the permitted time. They occupied the government headquarters despite repeated advice from police and the administration department,' she said. 'During the operation, the protesters were very unco-operative.'