Tuen Mun villagers fail in bid to meet minister
Paggie Leung and Tanna Chong
About 30 Tuen Mun village tenants who are refusing to return their land to the government yesterday staged a five-hour sit-in demanding to meet the development minister.
The Tsz Tin Tsuen villagers demonstrated outside the Central Government Offices in Central from 12.30pm hoping to arrange a meeting with Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, but left after waiting for just over five hours.
'We want to discuss the compensation and resettlement arrangement with her,' villagers' representative Chris Wong Wai-hing, said, adding that a housing bureau staff member collected a petition letter from them.
The action came a day after the government issued notices to the villagers, telling them it would move in on September 9 to end a six-month stand-off that has delayed the start of construction of 5,000 public housing flats. The government also made it clear yesterday that it would not increase the compensation rate of HK$474 per square foot or defer clearance of the land.
A housing bureau spokesman said land and housing officials would meet the villagers next week.
Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said yesterday that it was important to resume the land to build 5,000 flats, as there were many households queuing for public rental housing.
Government data show that of the 69 former landowners in Tsz Tin Tsuen, 37 agreed in 2007 to a government plan to buy their land for HK$474 a square foot. The remaining 32 are asking for HK$606 and resettlement. Some tenants who do not qualify for compensation have also refused to move out.
Legally, the site reverted to the government on July 17 last year.