Fanling family give up legal fight
A family who lived in a Fanling village for more than 30 years gave up legal action yesterday against eviction by Henderson Land Development.
They now hope to be allowed to continue living in Ma Shi Po village - on compassionate grounds - until redevelopment of the site begins in 2016. Since they have dropped the legal challenge, however, Henderson may send bailiffs to reclaim the land at any time.
Tang Ho-hing, 55, and her 32-year-old son, Lai Yuen-cheung, were advised by their lawyer to give up all legal action for fear of draining away her life savings. 'The land belongs to Henderson ... so the heavy legal costs are not worth the burden,' said Cho Kai-kai, a fellow villager who had been advising Tang. 'We are told that it is impossible to play a legal game with a property developer.'
Tang's home sits on land that used to belong to her relatives, until they sold it to Henderson in 2006. Tang signed a contract after the sale that allowed her to continue living there until July 2006, after which she should have given up the property.
Tang, who is illiterate, claims the contract was not properly explained to her, but a Henderson spokeswoman said the clauses were carefully explained at the time of signing.
Tang was to have sought the court's help to decide yesterday if the contract was valid. But she has rescinded an injunction granted last week against the eviction notice.
A lawyer for Henderson Land agreed out of court not to ask Tang and her son for legal fees incurred as a result of the injunction. The developer had earlier offered to pay the family HK$30,000 to help them find a new home. Tang had not accepted the money and had instead offered to pay rent in order to stay on.
'I don't want any money. I just want to stay in the house until development begins - at the earliest 2016,' she said. 'Henderson is just going to destroy the house and leave the land to waste until 2016 anyway.'
Tang's home is one of 150 in Ma Shi Po that were bought by Henderson Land to co-develop a new-town project with the government.