• Sun
  • Oct 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:05am
NewsHong Kong

Farmer's challenge to development secretary Paul Chan in land row

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 5:46am

The credibility of Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po took a further hit yesterday when a farmer rejected his explanation of how he came to rent out farmland at Kwu Tung North.

The minister was forced to admit his family's interest in the land - which now falls within redevelopment plans for a new town - after a media exposé.

The land in question is zoned for public housing. If resumed by the government, it is estimated to be worth more than HK$17 million

On the second day of the conflict-of-interest row, Chan said in Tianjin he let the farmland "at the request of villagers".

He was attempting to dispel a public impression that he was an investor awaiting profits from the new town development for which he is now responsible. The land in question is zoned for public housing. If resumed by the government, it is estimated to be worth more than HK$17 million.

But a villager farming on the site said it was "definitely not" he who approached Chan. The villager, giving his name only as Chung, said he had grown fruit trees and lived on the land for decades before Chan bought it.

But in 1996, two years after the purchase, Chan asked him to pay rent of HK$60 per six months. "I have farmed there for decades and [Chan] didn't appear until 1996," Chung said.

The revelations led to renewed calls by pan-democratic lawmakers for Chan to resign, a year after he was linked to the rental of subdivided flats.

Chan admitted on Monday that he and his wife, Frieda Hui Po-ming, had been directors of a company that owned 18,000 sq ft of farmland.

Chan was a director of the company until April 2011 and Hui until October last year. But it wasn't until two months after he was appointed to head the Development Bureau in July last year that he found out the farmland was in the redevelopment area.

Chung went to the site on Monday showing a rent receipt with Chan's signature, saying the minister was the owner who rented him the land. Chung said the contract lasted less than a year and Chan did not come to collect any rent after that.

"All trees were planted by my family, not Chan," he said.

Chan said he rented out the land through the company. "Our children were small 19 years ago … we did farm there when the land was bought," he added.

His activities have been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Ombudsman by pan-democrats, while he faces calls from the pro-government camp for more explanation.

But two Exco members said Chan had declared the size and location of land at a recent Exco meeting.

And Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his top aides gave him their backing. "He has fully complied with the declaration system," Leung said.



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This article is now closed to comments

Universal suffrage is blocked due to concerns Hong Kong people not have the wisdom to select an appropriate leader. However, under the current system where our leader is chosen for us, we have nothing but corrupt officials. It is becoming harder to find anyone that CY Leung selected to his cabinet who is NOT under investigation of corruption.
hard times !
resign,resign ? how can
we expect this greedy old
guy to resign himself ?
His greed has a long
history due to his so-called
'principle of lever'---borrowing
money from banks to purchase
cheap old tenement building flats
to be subdivided into cubicles
for rent and awaiting the
compensation once the
buildings are to be
demolished.So do his farmland
bought in 1994 at a cheap
price which has risen to
19 times already !
this former representative
of the accountant constituency
in the Legco---an experienced
chartered accounant was
the only one who supported
C.Y.in his election campaign
at the Legco in the early
stage. How can C.Y.let
him go now ?
Yet he has become a
political time-bomb to
C.Y.'s governing team
a politcal burden
to be sure.
Go ! Paul Chan !
you can resume your
accountancy career
which still can bring
you lots of bucks
lingering in the present
post brings you
and others only harm
and nothing else !
If this guy still doesn't resign now.........CY's whole administration and their accountability is gonna go further downhill to the point of no return..........Time to go Mr. Chan........


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