• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 4:47am
NewsHong Kong
DEVELOPMENT

Legco vote on new-towns funding postponed again as protesters rally at Tamar

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 June, 2014, 2:45am

A vote on preliminary funding for two controversial northeast New Territories new towns was put on hold last night after a meeting of Legco's Finance Committee was thrown into chaos as hundreds protested outside the Legislative Council complex at Tamar.

The meeting was a continuation of the one a week earlier that ended in mayhem with protesters attempting to storm the Legco building to stop lawmakers voting on the HK$340 million in funding for the new towns in Fanling and Kwu Tung.

Watch: Protestors rally outside of Legco during new-towns funding proposal

The chairman of the Finance Committee, Ng Leung-sing, faced heated criticism during the four-hour meeting yesterday, including accusations that he ignored rules and procedures. New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee even suggested he step aside when the meeting resumes next week.

"There are 2,000 people outside. The displeasure last week was largely caused by your recklessness," Democrat Sin Chung-kai, speaking on a motion to adjourn, said in reference to last week's chaos when protesters clashed with police. Pan-democrats asked for the meeting to be adjourned so government officials could meet affected villagers again to resolve the matter peacefully.

Ng then came under more fire when he suggested that each member would have only one minute to speak on the motion to adjourn, instead of the usual three minutes.

Calm was restored when Ng's motion was voted down 24-26. Ip and Michael Tien Puk-sun, also of the New People's Party, were among those who voted against.

"Mr Ng has made the meeting very chaotic," Ip said, and suggested the committee's vice-chairwoman, Emily Lau Wing-hing, chair the next meeting.

Ng did not take questions from the media after the meeting but told Cable TV he felt he had a duty to continue as chairman. However, he said if "it was better for the issue" he would consider stepping aside. The committee has three remaining sessions before the summer break.

Eric Ma Siu-cheung, undersecretary for development, said: "The government regrets that attempts were made to delay the vote on the funding approval."

In a blog post yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged lawmakers and all citizens to spread the spirit of "all for one, one for all" and build the new towns to solve the city's housing shortage.

The protesters, banned from the Legislative Council complex, moved to the square outside the adjacent government headquarters. Between 800 and 1,000 police officers were deployed and barricades erected.

The organisers of the protest, which was largely peaceful, said there were 5,000 demonstrators, while police put the figure at 1,300.

The protesters grew more angry as pro-government groups rallied on the opposite side of the road and played the national anthem.

Police arrested two students aged 13 and 14 for possessing weapons including two 20cm knives, a combat knife, around 10 cutter blades, an iron hammer, a torch lighter and two wire cutters.

Chief Inspector Chen Chi-cheong said the police were investigating the background of the teenagers and why they appeared at the protest with weapons. The boys were in custody and no charges had been laid as of last night.

A 75-year-old protester was arrested for slapping an officer.

A total of 26 people have been arrested over last week's protest.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

virokick
More consultation , over filled with conspiracy theories , over imagination , more studies , more comments ....from more parties - that's why we will not be able to solve our housing problem.
Everyone doesn't wanna compromise, and use wealth and property as a means of the rich to enslave the poor.
HK's story now is only mainly about property, that's why we need quick , remedial action to open new townships. We need more space , not more suggestions or smart ideas that will only prolong our problems, as the many un- doubtfully creative but impractical and un-constructive commentators below.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion , but we simply don't have that luxury to listen to everyone. We must get on with the job.
johnyuan
Summer of 2014 wouldn’t be remembered as a summer like any summer in Hong Kong. It is a summer hotter than any one that perhaps has had be recorded. More, it would also be hottest because of the political fever engenders by events of certain human doing.
.
The foremost is the Occupy Central. Nothing can’t surpass it for everyone’s anxiety even it is just an event that yet to come.
.
The singular of that anxiety seems not sufficient. Suddenly the new-town budget voting springs on everyone’s already occupied anxiety. Only a most inapt official would agree to the timing or the most conniving. The government is rushing its plan and pushing the legislators to approve the request for a preliminary funding that will amount to HK$340 million without even resolving how the land can be obtained. What is that amount use for? Is it just a feasibility study or putting a racking ball in action? From the official all we know is that the two new-towns would house to nearly 175,000 residents by 2031.Tell us what economic stratification of residents is targeted? How the infrastructure is to be funded? The legislators and public need to know at this point the intention of the government. For that, we don’t need nearly half a billion dollar to learn official’s intention for the new-towns.
johnyuan
Instead, the officials are rushing and obviously want to seal their new-towns with legislators’ committing the requested funding blindly.
.
It is highly suspicious of those postings rushing too the two new-towns preliminary funding. The lack of informative input, few of the strongest official supporters is the least coherent in their writing. When this added rush for otherwise a very slow paced government in any public issue one just wonder who really wrote those hasty ill-prepared postings in order to get in the legislator door – compounding our anxiety that Occupy Central is just luring round the corner in our early summer of 2014.
johnyuan
.
The funding request may be granted by default when few legislators show up and the protestors haven’t in the midst of Occupy Central. So the timing for the funding request is well planned perfectly after all.
.
From CY Leung down including the property developers, all trying fishing in the muddied waters.
blue
"Please don't get so upset. I was only asking a question about the compensation argument . If you believe you are due a new home, a cash handout and to keep your savings that's alright by me. "

It's not about me. I don't live in that village. I just feel empathetic that's all. I feel these people are being railroaded.
rpasea
I understand local residents' resistance to this (or demands for better compensation) but I just question the viability of a new town project in a remote corner of HK. This will take at least a decade to complete so why the rush about needing it to deal with our present housing crisis? By the time this is built the housing situation may be completely different.

There are many better sites closer to the urban areas to build housing if housing is such an immediate problem (once interest rates go back to 'normal' levels the housing 'shortage' may be a moot issue). Housing at the lower end is govt. housing and an audit to see if present occupants still qualify should be taken immediately to free up units for this who do qualify.
virokick
We need land quickly for our youths, the under privileged, more schools, day care centres for children, hospitals etc.
Land and space and larger home units to dwell in so that locals can produce more children. Couples can marry and don't worry about huge down payments- producing HK Children who are not brought up in cramped spaces -educated ,fit and mentally healthy; unlike some of the commentators below here.
blue
"If you fail means testing, doesn't that imply you have enough money to buy your own place?
Or is the complaint that $600,000 isn't enough compensation?"

So you're the kind of psychopathic bureaucrat who thinks just because someone has some money laying around for a rainy day, that they should be evicted from their home that they've lived their entire life, saddled with burdens, lose their community, and be forced by the government to tap into their savings?

You do realize you are a sack of sh.it right?
2crazy4words
Dear Blue
Please don't get so upset. I was only asking a question about the compensation argument . If you believe you are due a new home, a cash handout and to keep your savings that's alright by me. Best of luck.
See,... at least I am an ambivalent sack of sh.t
virokick
For those against the development of the new townships in the New Territories ; you can't expect to have the cake and eat it at the same time. Some tough choices have to be made- such as relocation. This is after all HK ; we must trust the system at least would give a fair deal /compensation to the villagers, unlike say China where people become over night multi millionaires from over compensation or treated unfairly by having their farmland grabbed by corrupt officials.
Some talk about preserving the 'way of life of locals', and want more land supply for housing, go on talking , consulting , discussing ; as though we haven't done enough of that yet.
We need action and not just more talk and that's why the government should start working on it.
Be part of the solution and don't be part of the problem.
Small house policy for indigenous males - must be abolished.
Relocation of villagers who are adequately compensated- has to be done for development sake.
If one speaks , acts and walks like a thug- one is indeed a thug( Heung Yee K).
That's why the government will carry on with the job.
And commentators like Johny...will continue opposing and whining that everything the government does is wrong. That's the only constructive thing he could do to increase land supply; actually he only increases noise supply.

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