Action on new work at sai wan beach site

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 2011, 12:00am


The scenic Sai Kung beach site that was defaced by excavation last year is back in the sights of government enforcers - this time over suspected unauthorised drainage work.

The work is on land at Sai Wan owned by the chairman of a listed company who bought the property from villagers and was embroiled in the earlier row when he started digging to build a private lodge.

The Buildings Department learnt of the work after a routine inspection by rangers of the adjacent Sai Kung East Country Park last month

The department would not comment, but the Lands Department said: 'It is understood that the Buildings Department is now taking enforcement action.'

The work is being carried out behind two village houses on the site. Owner Simon Lo Lin-shing, chairman of Mongolia Energy Corporation, did not respond to inquiries filed through his public relations consultant.

The work came to light a year after excavation at the previously unspoiled site drew public attention to the threats facing dozens of similar sites without land-use-zoning protection. The government imposed a temporary zoning that freezes new development until detailed land use zoning could be decided.

A visit by the South China Morning Post last week found the area behind a dilapidated village house had been turned into a small construction workshop, where building materials like timber, drainage pipes, steel bars and metal poles were piled up. Two H-shaped vertical steel girders have been erected behind a partially collapsed house.

More than a dozen workers emerged at lunchtime from behind the house, but none would talk.

The boundary of the site is now clearly demarcated by fences, separating the area from government land once illegally occupied by the contractor for the landowner.

Most of the excavated sites have been levelled and grassed, though two artificial ponds, now with fish in them, remain. Flowers and trees have been planted and workers are maintaining the turf on the pond side. Water sprinklers have been installed.

At the northwest corner of the site, four women were ploughing an area where they had erected bamboo poles to grow beans. 'Can't you see we are farming here and we eat these vegetables? It is nonsense for people to say there will be buildings here,' one of the women said.

Near the site, a contractor for CLP Power is laying underground power cables to replace overhead power cables. It said the upgrade was to increase reliability.

A hiker reported suspected illegal access across the protected sandy beach late last month.

Tang Chung-hun said he saw a barge anchored at the shore while carts transported construction materials across the beach on a recent morning. Some bricks were still on the beach, though workers have been carting them to a nearby shop.

'The carts were carrying the materials towards Lo's site. I asked the workers what they were doing so early and they said they were landing on the beach,' Tang said.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it had not issued a permit for access.

Park rangers had found workers carrying materials manually from a barge at the end of April, which a spokeswoman said was legal.

But she said if carts were on the beach, it would be considered unauthorised access. The power cables work was also unauthorised, she said.

Six men and a company were fined about HK$80,000 last year for the excavation and for moving machinery in a country park without a permit.