Deadlock between Hong Kong fabric vendors and government on move out solutions

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department confirmed that none of the vendors had responded by the Wednesday deadline

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 8:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 11:00pm

Unlicensed fabric vendors from the famed Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar in Sham Shui Po have rejected to accept any of the latest options offered by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in exchange for them to move out of the 38-year-old market.

The FEHD confirmed on Thursday that none of the vendors had responded by the Wednesday deadline after being given two weeks to consider either taking a moving compensation fee of HK$60,000 or HK$15,000 and priority bidding for new stalls at the Tung Chau Street Temporary Market, also in Sham Shui Po, with a 20 per cent discount off their rent.

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Among all 52 vendors, who do not have hawker’s licenses, only 33 were given the two options as the FEHD said the other 17 self-claimed vendors had failed to provide “valid evidence’’ to prove their status as regular vendors inside the market.

Vendors were asked to move out of the bazaar in West Kowloon by FEHD in January and June this year in order to make way for the construction of a new subsidised housing development. However, only 21 licensed vendors were willing to either relocate to other FEHD street stalls or take HK$12,000 of ex-gratia payment. The majority of the bazaar - being unlicensed - is still running on a daily basis.

The FEHD said when setting the two-week deadline in late September that vendors will only be “tolerated” until the end of lunar new year in February next year.

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The Yen Chow Street Hawkers Bazaar Concern Group, together with nearly a dozen Sham Shui Po district councillors, will stage a rally outside the Central Government Complex in Admiralty on Friday morning, demanding “fairer’’ solutions from the FEHD in asking them to move out.

“We will stand as one [in deciding whether to accept government’s solutions],” group spokesman Ho Ying, who is an unlicensed vendors himself, said rent in the new market is unaffordable and demanded the government register all self-claimed fabric vendors.