Activists expect showdown with MTR Corp over access to village

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am

Activists expect a showdown with the MTR Corporation as access is restricted to a Yuen Long village being razed for the express rail link to Guangzhou.

Chu Hoi-dick, a member of the Tsoi Yuen Tsuen Concern Group, said the volunteers helping the remaining 47 families in Tsoi Yuen Tsuen would no longer be able to freely walk through the area because a gate would soon be installed to block the entrance to the village.

'The village used to be a large piece of land where everyone could move freely. The MTR Corp has turned the village into dozens of zones by erecting hoardings and barricades. It has also built gates between these zones, so there is no way we can walk from one end of the village to another without being stopped by security guards,' he said. 'Now everything is in place. They can build the last gate very quickly.'

However, the MTR Corp said the hoardings and barricades were needed for the safety of workers, villagers and visitors. It promised an access road would be built for villagers who had not yet moved out.

Chu believed the gates were to stop the group's patrol teams entering the village to help the villagers. The group recruited nearly 500 city dwellers, most of them university students, to form patrol teams to provide instant help to villagers. Patrol team members frequently argue with MTR Corp workers, sometimes resulting in clashes. Police arrested two team members for criminal damage on Tuesday after a dozen tried to stop a piling machine digging a trench near the home of an elderly couple.

'The arrest is a warning signal,' Chu said. 'It is aimed at intimidating the patrol teams.'

Tsoi Yuen village has to be bulldozed so a depot can be built for the HK$66.9 billion Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Link. The 47 families plan to rebuild their homes together on land they bought at Yuen Kong Tsuen, and are negotiating with the government on a timetable for leaving Tsoi Yuen Tsuen.

 

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