ENVIRONMENT

Lau Ming-shum an entrepreneur with fingers in many pies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 11:10am

The name Lau Ming-shum - the developer who has caused controversy by buying up land in the Sai Kung village of Pak Sha O - is familiar to conservationists. It is not the first time the political adviser to Hunan has been in a land row.

Lau, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference since 2003, is an adviser to rural affairs body the Heung Yee Kuk and the head of the New Territories Realty Association. An owner of more than 70 companies in the city, he is also involved in the sauna club business.

His name surfaced in the media in a row about a columbarium that provoked monks on Lantau to hold a rare news conference to accuse "a commercial organisation" of masquerading as a monastery in seeking to build the facility on the island.

The monks were referring to Yin Hing Monastery, of which Lau is a director, and which the monks said had acquired land from nearby temples. They accused it of placing human bones outside the targeted temples, making menacing calls and cutting the water supply to force out owners.

The monastery is now listed as an illegal columbarium after it failed to comply with planning requirements, and its owners have started legal proceedings against the government.

Lau is also involved in another dispute over a private columbarium - To Fuk Shan in Sha Tin. The Taoist temple offers thousands of funeral urn niches, which the government says breaches the conditions of its land lease.

Lau holds 75 companies, some dissolved, according to the Company Registry. He is a director of Treasure Spot, a big player in New Territories land acquisition, and owns a loan company of the same name.