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Old Hong Kong

Guards turn away government inspectors from Hong Kong’s historic Red House, as demolition worries persist

Tuen Mun site thought to be where revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen plotted to overthrow the Qing dynasty

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 February, 2017, 12:20pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 February, 2017, 8:59pm

Security guards at the apparently demolition-threatened house where Sun Yat-sen is thought to have plotted the 1911 revolution turned away government staff who wanted to check on the site on Saturday.

This came days after legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, of rural development campaign group Land Justice League, revealed that the new landlord of the Red House in Tuen Mun, who bought the land only three months ago, had served eviction notices to some occupants.

Chu, who is helping two affected families, highlighted worries of possible demolition of the grade one historic building.

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He said: “The residents have been living there for a long time. But the new landlord wants to evict them now.

“One can’t help but think that the move is to pave the way for further development of the Red House.”

The Red House is widely believed to be the base where Chinese republican revolutionaries under Dr Sun, the founding father of modern China, plotted to overthrow the Qing dynasty in the 1900s.

In 2009 the Antiquities and Monuments Office classified it a grade one historic building, the highest grade in the three-tier system, mainly due to its social value and local interest. But that does not grant it legal protection, which is only for declared monuments.

A Buildings Department spokesman said the department was trying to contact the owners. It would apply to the court for a warrant to enter the premises if needed, he added.

On Friday Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who visited the site, said parts of the walls surrounding the Red House had been torn down, and the water supply for people living in the building had been cut.

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He also called for the historic building to be made a proposed monument, to save it from possible demolition.

Under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, the Development Bureau can declare any grade one building a proposed monument if it is under threat of demolition or renovation which could affect its heritage value.

If a building is declared a proposed monument, no works can be carried out on the premises for one year.

The Development Bureau had earlier said it was “highly concerned” about works being carried out near the Red House.

A bureau spokesman said that any demolition or alteration works to the building required approval from the buildings authority.