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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 7:56pm
NewsHong Kong
DEVELOPMENT

Angry villagers shout down development chief Paul Chan at new town meeting

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 October, 2013, 3:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 October, 2013, 3:26am

The development chief last night endured a rowdy reception from villagers who would lose their homes under his bureau's plan to turn their border suburb into a new town.

Paul Chan Mo-po, secretary for development, skirted around their demands for an exact date that he would visit the villages he wants to tear down - a promise he made months ago.

It was Chan's first face-to-face meeting with villagers, held at a North District Council venue in Fanling, on the controversial northeastern New Territories dual-town plan.

"You are exaggerating," the minister said in response to a Kwu Tung villager's criticism that the Development Bureau was "killing" the families whose homes fall under the plan.

"You are indeed destroying our homes, it's no different from killing us," said student Chung Xiaoqing, a Kwu Tung villager.

"I beg you, minister, to allow my 90-year-old mother to live out the rest of her days in her village," another woman said.

In another exchange at the meeting, which was closed to the media, Chan replied that: "The [new town] project is for Hongkongers."

That sparked boos all round from the 80 attending villagers. "What about us here? Who among us is not a Hongkonger?" one villager asked. "You are serving newcomers from the mainland," said another.

Chan refused to specify when he would visit the villages he planned to uproot, saying only that his colleagues would make future arrangements.

The development plan is intended to provide more public housing, Chan said. But an angry villager replied: "Can you tear down your residence and live in a public flat in the future?"

They argued officials lacked understanding of their communities, questioning how the existing transport network could cope with further population growth. "Come to Sheung Shui station one morning at 8am and try to take a train ride to Kowloon," said one villager.

Kwu Tong North village head Nam Siu-fu said: "From 2008 until now, we have just been told the same stuff.

"The government should address our demands instead of just repeating themselves."

Fellow resident Lee Siu-wah - whose home will become a space for flowers under the new plan - said: "Our demands are simple: keep our village, no relocation."

The HK$120 billion plan covers 333 hectares, with 60,700 flats to be built for 174,900 people.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

sipsip1238
He promised to give a specific date to visit and he didn't????? - Shouldn't we now be more surprised if he actually did get off his corrupted selfish bottom to do something?
The saddest part of this article is that most of Hong Kong seems to have forgotten his past actions which even in the most terrible of Governments around the world would've required him to resign.
If he is actually keen on helping, just resign, I'd rather take a gamble to see how corrupted the next minister would be instead of someone who uses their wife like a shield and in this case uses their assistant like a shield, man up! You're not better than anyone else.
jimmybabe
May be he should offer to tear down his family home or surrender his own lands in exchange to prove his innocence in all these.
321manu
Government arbitrarily taking your land against your will, and maybe not paying adequate compensation? Better get used to it, cuz it's a common occurrence under the CCP.
I wonder if this guy will turn around and give the development contracts to his cronies. Sleazy conflict-of-interest deals appear to be in his wheelhouse.
caractacus
Paul Chan is making himself unpopular with almost everyone. NT villagers are only concerned with being able to fiddle as much money as they can out of the Small House Policy and they believe no law should apply to them, but is the new town really necessary?
sipsip1238
Because if any of the villagers dare do that to him, they'll probably get life imprisonment or a massive fine quicker than you can imagine.
Whereas if he continues on his corrupt ways, he'll just get a slap on the hand and if worst he'll just go, "my wife did it."
How do you suppose he still has his job, all the ministers are in their ivory towers and they protect each other while touting that they're doing it for the people.
Beaker
Warning to Taiwan: This is China. Buy American. Huh? Buy what? American cars? TV's? Videos? no no no.
F-15's and Aegis destroyers, Patriot batteries.
Beaker
Is there any reason why villagers do not rise up and raid this man's home? Torches and all, like in the Frankenstein movies. I mean, really, why not since he is so nonchalant about destroying their way of life. Put metal and gasoline in his microwave oven, open up the gas valve. Puncture his tires. Bluetooth hacked software into his car (Hastings, Liu Jun, google them).
He should be investigated for corruption, up to 15 years after he leaves office for any income that cannot be explained. This is how HK works. Donald Tsang and his flat in SZ. After he leaves office. Best to end this man's career as is.
Beaker
Look up John P Wheeler.

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