Rail-link protestors want new home for village

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2010, 12:00am

Residents of Tsoi Yuen Tsuen say they will make way for the HK$66.9 billion express rail link if the government rebuilds their village elsewhere to maintain their way of life.

The Transport and Housing Bureau said earlier that the village could not be recreated elsewhere under the existing land policy. But a policy exists to reinstate houses and land of farmers affected by infrastructure development.

Ko Chun-heung, who chairs the Tsoi Yuen Tsuen action group, said villagers would compromise if the government offered them the benefits farmers were entitled to. 'We are all descended from farmers,' Ko said.

Ko said she had liaised with 90 households who told her they wanted to continue farming and their community.

The bureau said it had offered a compensation package to 140 households, giving up to HK$600,000 in compensation, or HK$500,000 plus a right to buy subsidised housing without a means test. The package expires on Sunday.

But Ko said the villagers would rather maintain their way of life and build the houses themselves. She said the government should also provide all amenities once they find a place to live.

Should the government refuse, Ko said residents would continue to defend the village.