• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 5:50pm
NewsHong Kong

New Territories villagers drown out country park activists at Legco rally

Group of picnicking conservationists berated ahead of vote to exclude enclave from park plan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:30am

Hundreds of villagers from across the New Territories massed at the Legislative Council complex yesterday to protest over the "unfair" incorporation of a Sai Kung enclave into a country park.

Waving national flags, they were expressing support for Heung Yee Kuk lawmaker Lau Wong-fat's bid to have the Tai Long Sai Wan enclave excluded from a plan to fold it into a country park. Hours later they had to head for home after Lau's motion was voted down, but they vowed to fight on in the courts.

Earlier, protesters sang the national anthem and Unity Is Power - a revolutionary song.

They had come from more than 27 villages across Hong Kong, some as far away as Sheung Shui, Fanling, Pat Heung, Yuen Long and Lantau Island. "If Lau's motion fails, there is still a judicial review pending, so we are not too worried," said former Tai Po district councillor and kuk member Li Yiu-ban.

Sai Wan village chief Lai Yan said he would do whatever it took to protect his home. A few Sai Wan villagers berated some conservationists who were staging a picnic outside the building in support of the government plan.

The Save Our Country Parks Alliance and the Democratic Party handed letters to environment chief Wong Kam-sing in the morning expressing support for the park plan. Villagers accused them of being "selfish" and "insensitive".

"All we want is fairness," said villager Lai Kwan, who runs a restaurant in Sai Wan.

"The government talks about conservation, but how will they protect butterflies when they can't even protect the rights of people who live there?"

He said folding private land into the park was akin to snatching away private property rights, and the government was backtracking on a promise officials made in the 1970s to keep private property in villages out of country parks.

Pro-establishment and pan-democrat lawmakers took turns taking the stage to accept "more than 10,000" letters from villagers opposing the plan.

Civic Party lawmaker Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, who has been vocal in his support for the government's park plan, also took to the stage, but was jeered at by angry villagers.

"I, too, hope a compromise can be reached between the need for conservation and villagers' rights," said Chan, his voice nearly drowned out by the loud booing.

"But our stance is firm: incorporating the enclave into the park is the only way we can protect it from destruction," he said.



For unlimited access to:

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



This article is now closed to comments

OldPeak Toad
Glad the K.u.k actually found "villagers" in those 27 villages - and did not have to fly them in from Toronto and Vancouver.
They don't have to fly them in any more. The K uk is flying out to them to get them to sign small house application forms and secret agreements including powers of attorney selling their house "right" to developers while they defraud the Government by representing that the house is for themselves and their family to live in. In return they get a nice fat wad of cash.
Sadly UK's Mr Son Chip-Shop + Mr Ham Sta-Dam were not there to support the 'deng uk' rants having already been paid off handsomely for signing the required papers
Pathetic greedy grabbing developers sponsoring free 'villager' trip + lunch in return for a bit of Kong-Yee
What a performance by the HYK. The indigenous villager diaspora around the world is running the biggest land and property scam in HK's history at the expense of the environment and the rest of the public and they claim attempts to conserve the countryside are "unfair".
They sing patriotic songs and wave national flags now. They didn't do it during the cultural revolution when they pretended to show loyalty to the colonial regime when in fact the only thing they were loyal to was their own interests.


SCMP.com Account