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Lau Wong-fat may get votes to squash Sai Kung country park plan

Kuk leader's bid to have Sai Kung enclave excluded from country park is likely to pass unless pan-democrats put up united front

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 3:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 8:52am

Rural strongman Lau Wong-fat's motion to revoke a government plan to incorporate a scenic Sai Kung enclave into a surrounding country park could be passed next month unless all pan-democrats show up and vote against it.

At a meeting of the Legislative Council subcommittee on country parks yesterday, the Heung Yee Kuk lawmaker received support from pro-establishment parties for his motion to reject a government plan to incorporate Tai Long Sai Wan into the Sai Kung East Country Park.

In an ironic twist, pan-democrats are in support of the government's plan, while the bulk of the pro-establishment parties, including the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, have voiced their support for Lau.

Under the split-voting system, the motion is likely to pass in the functional constituencies, where government allies predominate, meaning a united front would be needed by the pan-democrats in the geographical constituencies - where they hold 18 of the 35 seats - to defeat it. The motion is scheduled to be tabled on December 4.

A non-binding motion calling for the coastal enclave to be excluded from the park was passed by the subcommittee 7- 4 last week but lapsed due to procedural errors.

Lau insists the incorporation of Sai Wan into country park land would take away indigenous villagers' rights, which includes a right to build small houses on ancestral land.

"Protection of private property rights is one of the basic cornerstones of a capitalist society," he said.

The government approved draft plans earlier this year that would incorporate the 17 hectares of land - including privately owned sites in Sai Wan village - into the surrounding country park to conserve the site.

Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party said incorporating the enclave into the country park was the only way to protect the ecologically sensitive area.

The Labour Party's Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who chairs the subcommittee, said she would oppose Lau's motion.

Elizabeth Quat of the DAB said many villages had been neglected by the government.

"Some don't even have access to water services," she said. "How is this striking a balance between conservation and villagers' rights?"

But the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions - which holds three votes in the geographical constituencies and three in the functional constituencies - remains undecided.

FTU lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin said the federation had originally promised to back the government's plan, but this was well before Lau voiced his objection.

"We may need to review it all again," Wong said.

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caractacus
Further fact: The Small House Policy has been allowed to get completely out of control by Lands Dept. and Govt. generally. It is now universally abused and the biggest ever fraud perpetrated on the Hong Kong people.
caractacus
Fact: almost all indigenous village 'ding' small house applicants do not live in their NT small houses, and never will; many live abroad.
Fact: about half of approved 'ding' houses are sold immediately they are built; villagers pocket millions of dollars under a policy which was introduced to meet their housing 'needs.'
Fact: many villagers secretly and illegally, sell their 'ding' rights to developers before applying to build.
Fact: Secretary for Development has recently made statements in Legco that Govt. will take into account development "pressure" and "demand" in Country Parks - a radical departure from the Government's enclave policy; no public consultation has been conducted.
Fact: Town Planning Board has been rubber stamping 'V Zones' for 'ding' house development in villages, locating the V Zone where it knows developers have bought the private land from villagers.
Lau Wong Fat: Legco member, Chairman of the Heung Yee K u k, Chairman Tuen Mun District Council, close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. Member CPPCC, Chairman Legco sub committee on Country Parks which on 4th Nov. passed an amendment motion not to include private property at Tai Long Sai Wan in Sai Kung Country Park, supported by DAB and James Tien. Property billionnaire with thousands of NT land plots.
Cheung Hok Ming: Legco member, non official member Exco, Vice Chairman of the Heung Yee
K u k, Chairman Tai Po District Council, senior member of DAB, Member CPPCC.

dascaldasf
This is another strategy by the pro-establishment group(s) to absorb/woo rural villagers into their arms. Ignorance befalls them (Lau and the so-called villagers) thinking they will get a fair share but in the end it is only the developers that will be the ultimate beneficiaries. Lau knows that developers eye prospective sites next to or close to or even within Country Parks for development. At present so-called site investigation works carried by developers have cut trees indiscriminately, widen road accesses even before getting permits or approval from the Lands Department. The Lands Department, AFCD and DLO are helpless as they lack coordination between them. There is little or no prosecutions/fines for these indiscriminate damage of trees and shrubs. Government policies lack enforcement in this area, even after what our CE stated in his annual speeches. The Development Bureau even goes so far as to side with developers in these areas sending out feelers/hints to the public to develop in these sensitive areas. These people who would like to see the destruction to our countryside because there is no beauty in Country Parks and the diversity of wildlife and its habitats, there is only beauty in greenbacks (money) and how much they can get their hands on. If we fail to protect our Country Parks, natural streams, forest, wildlife and habitats, there will no longer be rolling hills, forests for our grandchildren to enjoy but instead rows of concrete structures in its place.
hardhang
Greed at it most hideous
caractacus
and corruption...
sammckhk
You can be sure that the pan-democrats will be too lazy and/or disinterested to vote on this issue.
whoaman
"Protection of private property rights is one of the basic cornerstones of a capitalist society," he said.
So is greed and corruption, Mr Lau. You are truly a great capitalist, but you couldn't care less about land rights for those villagers - you're just scared it will infringe on your own kingdom...
chuchu59
This organization is so selfish I am beginning to think that whatever they oppose we should support and vice versa. 'Private property my foot'. What they want is compensation. These guys are real lazybums feeding on the general public's resources.
caractacus
They can get compensation under the Country Parks Ordinance if they agree their agricultural land should be acquired by Government for Country Park status, but they do not have to do so. They do not want statutory compensation because the amount pales into insignificance next to the cash avalanche coming their way if they can bury the Country Parks enclaves under thousands, yes, THOUSANDS, of houses and sell them, becoming instant millionaires at the expense of the general public who have to work all their lives to pay off a mortgage on a tiny shoe box. Better than doing an honest day's work.
Contrary to Lau Wong Fat's claim, Country Park status does not deprive villagers of their private property rights. It means that if they apply to build a house they need permission and, like everyone who isn't a NT villager, will have to satisfy planning and environmental requirements which at present they don't.
whoaman
and Lau is worst of them all...

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