Rifle club files second writ over lease

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2012, 12:00am


The government is acting like an ostrich in a row between a shooting club and the sport's governing body that is about to leave 600 gun enthusiasts with nowhere to practise, says a High Court writ.

The Hong Kong Rifle Association, which is seeking a judicial review in the Court of First Instance, now has two weeks to vacate Kau Wah Keng Range in Lai Chi Kok, which has been its base since 1964.

The Lands Departments says it has to repossess the site because the club has not renewed its membership with the Hong Kong Shooting Association governing body - a prerequisite for renting the land from the government.

According to the writ, however, the Shooting Association is blocking the club's membership due to 'personal grudges' . The Rifle Association says it has applied four times from 2006 to 2011, but each time the application has been rejected.

While the writ names the Hong Kong Shooting Association as first defendant, the Secretary for Justice is named as second defendant because he is in charge of public non-profit activities and represents all government bureaus.

'It has been extremely unfortunately that the Hong Kong SAR government has adopted a superficial, indifferent and ostrich-like attitude in the matter, which deliberately turns a blind eye to the real situation,' adds the writ, which was filed on Tuesday.

The Rifle Association, whose history dates back to 1924 and which now has 600 members, initially refused to submit its annual membership fees in 2006 to the governing body after 'certain unhappy differences between them'.

Its writ wants the court to direct the Shooting Association to reinstate its membership in the interests of the public, with the full support of the Secretary for Justice.

An earlier writ, against a notice of removal by the Water Supplies Department last August, is due to be heard on March 12. The eviction deadline was later extended until February 29.