Tsoi Yuen villagers' last stand before the bulldozers move in

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 January, 2010, 12:00am

A number of defiant Tsoi Yuen villagers have vowed not to leave their homes for the cross-border railway - until the very last minute.

Many of them have lived there happily for decades, raising families and making a simple living. Now they are refusing to play ball with officials.

To make way for the cross-border railway, 150 homes are set for demolition, but Law Yick-fung, 77, who has lived in the village for over 50 years, says his family are disconsolate.

'I have lived here for many years. I would miss everything about the place, and I don't want to move out. I'm sad and I can't sleep at night.

'The compensation is too little for me to find a house elsewhere. I'll stay in the village until the last second.'

Under the government's compensation package, relocated villagers will receive HK$526.80 a square foot for affected farmland and HK$1,041 per square foot for land on which a house is built.

Affected households that do not own land will each receive a cash settlement of HK$600,000, and each villager will be paid HK$3,000 to HK$10,000 to cover moving costs. To qualify, villagers must register with the Lands Department this month and move out by October 15.

More than 80 per cent of the 150 households have already registered, the transport bureau says. Observers have speculated that villagers might buy land from Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, who owns land in the New Territories.

But Lau, who has been liaising with the government on the villagers' behalf over compensation, put an end to such speculation yesterday, saying: 'It would be a conflict of interest for me to sell or rent land to Tsoi Yuen villagers, so I won't do it.'

Yau Kai-woon, 76, who has lived in the village for half a century, has a note posted outside his home which says: 'We don't want compensation; we just want Tsoi Yuen village back.'