• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 11:36pm
NewsHong Kong

Heung Yee Kuk ready to fight against inclusion of enclave in country park

Rural body's leaders make ritual offerings as they gear up to resist government proposal to incorporate an enclave into a country park

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 November, 2013, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 December, 2013, 4:39am

The rural power brokers of the Heung Yee Kuk made offerings of roast suckling pig and rice liquor yesterday to honour those who fought British colonial forces in the 19th century, while steeling for a present-day battle of their own.

Led by kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat, about 200 supporters from 27 rural areas offered incense at Kam Tin, Yuen Long. Kuk members then feasted on vegetarian pun choi, a dish associated with villagers in the New Territories, while discussing their plan to rally outside the Legislative Council building on Wednesday to oppose the plan to incorporate an enclave into the Sai Kung East Country Park. Tai Long Sai Wan villagers blocked the entrance to the village during last month's Oxfam Trailwalker charity hike to show their anger at the plan to incorporate the enclave.

They fear the incorporation will deny them the right to use their property as they wish, and Lau will move a Legco amendment on Wednesday seeking to remove the site from a government bill incorporating three enclaves into country parks.

Although he said he was confident he would receive majority support for his amendment, Lau said the kuk would seek a judicial review if he did not.

Lau said yesterday's ritual was to remind Hongkongers that indigenous villagers in the New Territories fought the British to protect their rights, a fight that led to the creation of the kuk as a statutory advisory body.

He said the post-handover government had broken the colonial government's pledge that the creation of country parks would not harm property rights.

"We want to commemorate our martyrs and let people know why we have our rights," Lau said. "The SAR government has been against us on almost everything. We need to protect our villages as the martyrs protected our traditional rights."

One problem for Lau is that, under Legco's complex split-voting system, his amendment must secure a majority of votes from both functional- and geographical-constituency lawmakers.

In a twist, most pan-democrats, who control 18 of the 35 geographical seats, are siding with the government, while the pro-establishment camp largely backs Lau.

Civic Party lawmaker Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said he would vote against Lau's amendment as he feared villagers would sell their land for development.

Lau's supporters say they will not back down.

"If Lau's motion fails, we will besiege the Legco," Li Shu-fong, chief of Tai Tong village in Yuen Long, said during the pun choi feast. "We'll keep fighting. There'll be more to come."

Environment minister Wong Kam-sing said incorporating enclaves into country parks would not affect villagers' rights to build houses or use agricultural land.

Kuk member Li Yiu-ban said yesterday that at least 1,000 supporters would participate in the gathering at Legco, which the kuk is characterising as a "petition".


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

It seems at odds that the **** seem to think opposition to the British so many years ago merits a continuation of this policy and special rights, while those convicted of crimes in the 1967 protests are ignored and because of said convictions have less than normal rights. What about those who gave their life fighting against the Japanese occupation? What about police officers, firemen, etc who have given their lives for the benefit of Hong Kong people, where is their family's land? The villagers opposed the British for a few days back in the late 1890s and then cut a deal. Others have continued to make sacrifices for Hong Kong without shouting that they are special
What a crock, the only thing the indigenous villagers support is their own interests, which by the way are NOT rights. During the Japanese occupation, with the exception of Sai Kung, the K U K collaborated with the enemy.
K-U-K is deemed to be an offensive word by the SCMP. Interesting.
When did the HYK suddenly become so patriotic? Offering roast sucking pig to honour those who fought the colonial forces in the 19th century. Come off it, you guys are just a bunch of money-grabbing greedy people. I do not believe a single word of what they say.
I think it is ok if the land went to the people and the people used the land for their own housing needs. What I see is that the lands are then sold to the highest bidder and then becomes a 20-30 million dollar village house where the wealthy live. The Indigenous villagers are no where to be seen.......
Why does the government not dole out money to the IV league members and then be done with this. This will then stop destroying the precious land which belongs to all Hongkong people and is safeguarded for eternity?
The so called war lasted 6 days and came after China had ceded the New Territories to Britain. Those "property rights" have never been defined and the K uk would have it that they are interpreted in the way most profitable to them, with the collusion of the Government, especially Paul Chan Mo Po, who has secretly approved the rape of the Country Parks by K uk led developers.
Reason being everyone detests what this crooked organization does.
Both the K uk and Government are being totally dishonest about this issue. The truth is that in about 2010/2011 a secret deal was cut between AFCD on the one hand and Development Bureau / Planning Dept on the other, to incorporate only 11% of Country Parks village land into Country Parks and to zone 89% for massive development, regardless of the ensuing environmental disaster and illegally subverting the Government's enclave policy. The K uk wants to stop even that small area from becoming Country Park.
The whole affair stinks of collusion / corruption.


SCMP.com Account