Couple seeks squatter's rights over shop

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 4:19am

A couple is seeking to claim squatter's rights over a piece of land outside a Kwun Tong residential building where they erected a shop 46 years ago.

In a High Court writ, Wong Shan-shan and Ng Juen-leung claim adverse possession of the site, which is owned on paper by the incorporated owners of Yue Man Mansion.

They say they established their shop on the ground floor by erecting walls outside the building in 1967. They have had exclusive use of it since then, without any objection from the building manager, according to the writ.

Their claim followed a successful court bid by a family to claim ownership of land behind Lee Theatre Plaza in Causeway Bay in May. The family has been living and running small businesses on the site since the mid-1970s.

At the Kwun Tong site sits a 150 sq ft shop adjoining a chiuchow street food store. A storekeeper refused to comment on the case.

According to the court document, the couple ran a Chinese herbalist tea house there and began running it as a dispensary in 1975.

They had an electricity supply installed in the shop in 1967 and telephone service in 1975.

They say the incorporated owners are prevented from claiming possession of the land because, throughout the period, the building's manager knew that the shop was erected and did not object to it. They also invested in renovating the shop.

The building manager "has not in the past 47 years taken any enforcement proceedings against the plaintiffs", the writ says.

The incorporated owners of the building said they had not received the court documents and would not make any comment.