Villagers teed off by Fanling housing plan

Farmers say they will set up operations on Fanling golf course if they are forced to move

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 5:37am

Villagers facing eviction by the development of the northeast New Territories have vowed to occupy the Hong Kong Golf Club course in Fanling if the government does not withdraw the proposal.

They say the 170-hectare course, home to the Hong Kong Open, should be used for housing development, not their homes. They will "farm, live and build houses" there if the plan goes ahead.

Dozens of villagers watched a live broadcast of the announcement yesterday on design changes and compensation. They held up a placard saying "protect our homes and farms", and booed when the government finished the briefing.

Chanting slogans such as, "develop the golf course" and "occupy golf course", they said they would not move regardless of the compensation.

Cheung Kwai-choi, who represents residents in Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling, said: "If they come [to demolish my house], blood will be shed."

Development minister Paul Chan Mo-po said yesterday Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling would be excluded from the plan and included in another study aiming to develop land released from the former restricted area next to the border.

Cho Kai-kai, of the League of Fanling North Villages and Residents, said the government had failed to explain why the area was suitable for development. "There is a need for housing, but do people really want to live so far away, in Sheung Shui and Fanling?"

They said the city should maintain its remaining farmland so it didn't have to rely entirely on imported produce.

Cheung said residents in his area would continue to support villagers in the other development areas, Kwu Tung and Fanling North. He feared developers would still start acquiring land in his area because the government had expressed interest in developing it in the future.

The government has only said it will not take away our land now, but development planning of the area has not stopped

"The government has only said it will not take away our land now, but development planning of the area has not stopped," he said, adding that developers could use tougher means than the government to acquire land.

Chu Hoi-dick, an activist helping the villagers, said the withdrawal was a tactic to divide the villagers and future developments rested on whether the occupants could show solidarity.

The government said each household would receive HK$600,000 on top of the standard compensation.