'What do I know - as an old lady?'
The elderly woman at the centre of a legal battle over the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge said yesterday she had been asked to file the judicial review, and that she understood very little about it.
The bridge across the southern Pearl River Delta -the main structure of which will be a 22.85 kilometre bridge, a 6.75 kilometre tunnel and two artificial islands - is projected to cost HK$83 billion. Chu Yee-wah's court case contends the government's environmental impact assessment of the project failed to meet its own standards for gauging the likely effect on local pollution levels
Breaking her silence yesterday for the first time since the Court of First Instance ruled in April in her favour against the government plan, Chu, 66, expressed regrets for having started it. 'When my children learned about what I was doing, they warned me not to pursue it any more, or they would ignore me,' she said.
'I also had no idea the case would make so many [construction] workers lose their jobs, and this made my heart unsettled.'
Her comments, spoken outside her flat in Fu Tung Estate, Tung Chung, near the site of the proposed bridge, raised questions as to who helped her launch such a complicated legal challenge.
Chu said she would not pursue the case further as she had regrets about launching it in the first place.
'I had no intention to make this happen, but they talked to me ... and I was muddled,' she told Cable TV. 'What do I know, as an old lady?
'People say I made the government unable to build the bridge. How can I have such influence?'
But she would not say who encouraged her to file a judicial review. 'I will not reveal who asked me to do it,' she said. 'I am already an old lady, let's get this over.'
The Civic Party has been implicated as being involved in the case, as some lawyers assisting Chu are party members. But the party has repeatedly denied it played a behind-the-scenes role.
Chu said she was concerned about the bridge's pollution impact on children and the elderly, but she never thought the court case could turn into such a big issue.
Solicitor and Civic Party member Alan Wong Hok-ming, helping Chu yesterday, said her spontaneous comments had been prompted by the media. 'I have talked to her and she still said she would listen to our advice on the way forward,' he said.
'Some media reports said she was manipulated and she was illiterate. But Ms Chu is not illiterate.'