Shop owners rage at pre-Christmas eviction from Tsim Sha Tsui galleria

Tenants in Tsim Sha Tsui galleria furious at eviction notices that throw them out of their premises just before their busiest time of the year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 5:45am

Tenants of the DNA Galleria shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui say they have been evicted with just over a month's notice after their landlord ignored their appeals to be allowed to stay until after the Christmas season.

The three-storey mall is part of the Park Hotel on Chatham Road, and has about 150 shops mainly selling trendy clothing and accessories.

Tenants said yesterday that they had received notices from DNA Galleria Limited on October 30, telling them that they had to move out by December 5 at the latest. At least three of the tenants were given just one week to move out.

The tenants said they knew only from news coverage that the mall had been sold to investor Wan Pak-kuen for HK$2.25 billion. The DNA Tenants Alliance was then formed by 68 shops in the mall.

The alliance said yesterday that it had been informed when it sent representatives to meet the proprietor that there would be "no delay, no settlement, and no compensation" .

The Park Hotel Group said it did not have any response for the time being.

A spokesman for the tenants' alliance, Ivan Wan King-lam, said there had been about 10 new tenants in the past two to three months. He accused the proprietor of cajoling small businesses to come in and create a "trendy" mall and boost the value of the property.

"We have reason to believe they want to disguise the situation to make the mall look busy. They lure new tenants to come in and fill the spaces so that they can sell at a better price," he said.

Wan opened a cafe in the mall seven months ago, signing a licence agreement instead of a lease for four years. He has invested more than HK$ 600,000 in the business.

However, the terms of his licence agreement say that when the proprietor demands that tenants move out within a month, they must comply with the demand, and no compensation will be paid.

The profit made in the Christmas period could be equal to six months' profit, meaning most tenants are hoping that they will be allowed to stay at least until after Christmas.