Repeal a law which favours greedy property developers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 12:00am

As Paul Serfaty points out ('Compulsory sale law needs to be repealed', November 5), Albert Cheng King-hon ('Developing farce', October 30) is completely misguided in his support of a law that clearly infringes on the rights of owners of older buildings and places them at the mercy of greedy property developers.

It is obvious that this legislation was not enacted to improve the urban environment.

The law was intended to facilitate the removal of property owners who, for personal or monetary reasons, do not want to part with their units and shops in order to clear the way for whichever developer is 'king' of the district, to remove them at minimum cost and then reap many times this small outlay through the construction of high-priced rabbit hutches.

Mr Cheng's attack on the members of the Minority Owners' Alliance Against Compulsory Sales is unwarranted.

This group includes a number of property owners who are battling to keep their properties and their supporters.

If Mr Cheng lived in an old building approaching the 50-year limit and faced the possibility of being a victim of this daylight robbery, he would be howling for his rights and calling on this group and sympathetic lawmakers to protect those rights.

It is patently obvious that the misunderstanding about the status of the noodle shop in Sham Shui Po was triggered by the predatory actions of property developer Lai Sun whose management tried to get the noodle shop owner to relinquish his rights under the threat of the compulsory sale mechanism.

Mr Cheng's statement that 'even the developer seems to have been taken for a ride' is risible. Here we are talking about Lai Sun with a history of demolishing buildings way before their time.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel was less than 20 years old when it was taken to the landfill and the Furama, built in 1973, was a popular hotel with many productive years left when it became a victim of the Lai Sun bulldozer.

The site for its current development at Wood Road, Wan Chai, was achieved via the compulsory sales mechanism so Mr Cheng must be the only person in Hong Kong under any delusion as to the developer's role in the push to acquire the property well before it achieved the 50-year threshold.

Few individual property owners support the legislation and this will be reflected in the voting pattern for the 2012 Legislative Council elections. We will choose legislators who fight for our rights and shun those who voted in support of developers who cheat us out of the fruits of our enterprise and destroy our communities. This legislation must be repealed.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai