A shopkeeping family locked in a legal row with the Housing Department yesterday vowed to keep their store in a Shau Kei Wan public housing estate open. Kong Fung Tai-hoo, 38, has been running her frozen food store in Yiu Tung Shopping Centre without permission for more than three months. She said she was prepared for a court battle with the department, which filed a writ against her store on Monday. The writ claimed that her husband, Kong Leung, had refused to cease operation or enter a short-term licensing agreement with the department after the centre's previous management company, Guardian Property Management Ltd, decided to cut short the store operator's contract with the housing body. The mother-of-two said the Housing Department had reassessed their rent after the company had ceased to manage the centre - resulting in an increase from the present $7,000 to $15,000. The reassessed level is believed to serve as an 'indicator' for the new management firm when it takes over the centre next month. 'Only 15 days after we started our business, we were told our contract had to be scrapped. What's wrong with it? We invested all our savings in the store. Then all of a sudden we have to face an unexpected high rent increase,' said Mrs Kong. 'It's unfair. We wanted the department, as the owner, to protect us from being exploited by the contract. Instead, they are helping the new firm to make more money. 'We are not going to close the shop unless the department sends people to evict us. We are prepared to fight the department in court,' said Mrs Kong. A spokesman for the Housing Department said the reassessed rent was set by professional surveyors and was only a reference for the new management company. 'We also require the new company to freeze rents for six months to protect shop operators' interests. 'But in Mr Kong's case, we cannot do anything since his contract was made with the former management company,' he said. The spokesman said Mr Kong should obtain a temporary leasehold agreement with the department before the new company takes over.