Rural representatives say they should be given a bigger role as mediators in disputes over eviction and compensation. Lau Wong-fat, the legislator representing the Heung Yee Kuk, said government failure to mediate with villagers before reclaiming land led to Tuesday's violent confrontation in Shek Wu San Tsuen, Sheung Shui. Fourteen people were hurt in clashes between villagers and police when officials tried to demolish homes to make way for a flood-prevention project. Mr Lau said he had not heard of any problems concerning land reclamation in the New Territories before 1983. 'Before that, whenever there was a land reclamation project in the rural areas, the Government would make use of the Home Affairs Department to co-ordinate work with the villagers. 'It would ask concerned government departments to sit down with kuk members, rural committee members and village representatives in a bid to reach mutual understanding before demolishing villagers' homes.' He said mediation of this type had stopped in 1983. 'We feel the Government has tried to fade out the role of the kuk and the rural committees as mediators.' Mr Lau said villagers and officials were both at fault in Tuesday's violence. Outspoken kuk member and racehorse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee said the Government should not have arrested Democratic Party members Wong Sing-chi, 42, and Sham Wing-kan, 45, who tried to mediate. Both men have been released on bail and told to report back to police at the end of this month. 'The police should not arrest people, who try to mediate, on the grounds of obstructing police. They just wanted to help. Who will dare mediate if they know they may be arrested?' The kuk will present a letter to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa voicing concerns.