Company claims squatters' rights to land in Sai Kung
Owner of home sues government to stop demolition on public land
A company which encroached on 600 square metres of public land adjacent to a house it owns in Sai Kung is suing the Lands Department for illegally entering the disputed lot without permission.
Jade's Realm, which owns the house at 98 Nam Wai Road, Sai Kung, claims in a writ filed with the High Court that the government could not recover the plot because the firm has acquired a squatter's title over it.
It launched the legal action days after the government began demolishing a gate and walls it erected on the public land.
It says the government's ownership of the land has been extinguished as a result of two provisions under the Limitation Ordinance, which state that the government cannot recover land if it has not taken action within 60 years of it being occupied.
On Tuesday, the Lands Department started to knock down walls and a gate on the disputed lot after a notice that ordered the house owner to stop unlawfully occupying the land was ignored.
Simon Deane, a partner in law firm Deacons, which filed the writ on behalf of Jade's Realm, is reported by a Chinese-language newspaper to live in the house. He declined to confirm whether he was the owner or resident, saying he could not comment on legal proceedings.
The High Court will today deal with an interim injunction, believed to have been sought by Jade's Realm ito stop the government carrying out removal work until a full court hearing. The hearing is due to last half an hour.
Land registry filings show that Jade's Realm bought the land for HK$19.8 million in 2007.
In 2008, the Buildings Department ordered Jade's Realm to remove a two-storey illegal structure, records show.
Ignoring a notice to stop occupying government land is a criminal offence, with a penalty of a HK$10,000 fine and a jail term of up to six months.