Evicted father threatens to jump
Family of five failed to agree compensation with URA for loss of flat
A father threatened to leap from his family's fifth-floor flat as bailiffs arrived to kick them out to make way for a redevelopment project after eight years of talks failed to satisfy their demands.
The 59-year-old man and his son, 28, were later arrested on suspicion of assaulting three Urban Renewal Authority staff who kicked them out of the home.
The family of five is among seven households who have refused to move out of tenements in Hai Tan Street, Sham Shui Po, to make way for a URA redevelopment announced in 2006. The dispute continued even after the government resumed ownership of the site in 2011.
Three other flat owners, the owner of a shop and two households living in illegal rooftop structures will also be removed in the next two weeks.
"The authority is unwilling to see [evictions] but we couldn't satisfy their demands under the existing policy, which compensates them with a sum equivalent to [the value of] a seven-year-old flat," a URA spokesman said.
The family, surnamed Lai, were told last week they would have to move out of the home at 187D Hai Tan Street yesterday.
When bailiffs arrived, the father refused to leave and climbed out of a window. An inflatable cushion was set up in the street below in case he jumped. He and his son were taken out into the street by security guards.
Three guards were treated for minor injuries. The arrested pair were being questioned last night.
The family will receive HK$4.9 million in compensation, but would have had about 30 per cent more had they been considered owner-occupiers when the URA conducted a survey in 2006.
"Half of the flat was rented out and the other half was vacant," said the spokesman, adding that the family moved back in during the talks. The family demanded an equivalent new flat, as the URA has offered owners for projects launched since 2011. At HK$7,400 per square foot, the price is 50 per cent higher than the HK$5,000 offered in 2006.
Authority sources said offers to other owners had gone up to HK$9,800 per square foot, but they wanted up to HK$13,000.
The URA said the family was entitled to interim housing. But the father said: "I don't know where we are going to sleep tonight. The authority is apathetic."
Additional reporting by Clifford Lo