Development Secretary Paul Chan to meet villagers over NT new towns
The secretary for development will meet villagers in Fanling and Kwu Tung tonight, two days before the Legislative Council meets again to debate HK$340 million in preliminary funding for two controversial new towns in the northeast New Territories.
Paul Chan Mo-po said he would listen "humbly" to the villagers' demands, although he would not be able to do as they ask and shelve the project.
The HK$120 billion project has become a rallying point for activists, who say thousands of villagers will lose their homes and way of life for a scheme that will largely benefit developers and include many luxury homes.
A vote on the preliminary funding was put on hold on Friday night at a meeting of the Legislative Council Finance Committee - while hundreds of people again protested outside the Legco building in Tamar.
The protest was mainly peaceful but came a week after scenes of mayhem as police used pepper spray on activists who tried to storm the building.
"My colleagues have contacted villagers, farmers and pressure groups … as we hope to have another chance for communication," Chan said after a Legco development panel meeting yesterday. "But on [their demand] for no removal or demolition, I have said many times that I'm very sorry, it's not feasible," he said.
Yu Yik-tin, of Ma Shi Po village, Fanling, said open debate was needed: "I don't think [Chan] wants to solve the problem."
Meanwhile, Yip Wing, a personal assistant to Labour Party lawmaker Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, was arrested yesterday for allegedly participating in an "unlawful assembly" outside the Legco building on June 13. It is understood he is accused of reversing his electric wheelchair into a set of doors in an attempt to force them open. He is the 27th person arrested over the protest.