Infringement of rights?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 January, 2011, 12:00am

The resumption of farmland in a Fanling village has sparked a fresh dispute between Henderson Land and villagers, who accuse the developer of removing their belongings without giving notice. Widow Yeung Wo-kim was shocked to see strangers removing the belongings of her late husband from their house in Ma Shi Po village one afternoon earlier in December. Yeung, 79, is one of two tenants who complained that their homes were cleared by workers sent by Henderson Land on December 9.

In October 2010, the developer issued eviction notices to about 150 Ma Shi Po village households, many of whom are tenant farmers who have lived there for more than 40 years. Yeung said the workers had damaged her late husband's personal belongings, such as his clothes and farming tools. She said the items had strong sentimental value and money could not compensate her.

Yeung is seeking compensation for fertiliser thrown away by the workers and damage to the house, which she put at HK$3,000. She also insisted that her husband, Tse Ling-shing, who was illiterate, had never signed a paper to surrender the tenancy of the land.

But Henderson insisted the landlord had given it a paper signed by Yeung's late husband agreeing to move out. Yeung's daughter-in-law, Florence Tse Kwan-pui, said they might take the dispute over the genuineness of the signature of her father-in-law to court. Tse died in 2008.

'My father-in-law was illiterate, but the paper showed a signature for Tse. We are sceptical about the genuineness of the signature,' she said.

Victor Wong Wing-cheung, assistant property manager of Henderson, met affected tenants at the site on December 23. He said the complaints were isolated since the developer had posted warnings on village notice boards before clearing the houses. But Yeung said she and many villagers could not read.

Wong said: 'Our understanding is that those houses were supposed to be vacant. We didn't know that the tenants would come back. This is beyond our control.'

This is an edited version of a story that appeared in the Post on December 24