Worshippers battled in vain for five hours yesterday to prevent the demolition of a Shekkipmei temple, prophesying bad times for the community now its idols have been evicted. The Shek Lin Kok Koon Yam Temple was located between two housing blocks at the bottom of a dangerous slope on Shekkipmei Estate. A landslide in August forced hundreds of residents from their homes. The 34-year-old temple housed 12 idols of deities including the Goddess of Mercy (Koon Yam), the God of Justice (Kwun Tei), and the God of the Earth. All eventually ended up in a temporary shelter at a small office of an ex-district councillor of the estate. More than 30 worshippers, most elderly women who lived on the estate, battled for more than five hours in a last-ditch effort to save the temple from demolition. At one stage they refused to move the deities from the temple after seeking 'advice' from the deities themselves. They feared the relocation might bring undesirable consequences to them and the community. 'Something bad will happen to everyone if the deities are moved from their home,' said 55-year-old Cheng Yuet-heung, who has followed her 90-year-old mother in worshipping Koon Yam. In tears, she said: 'It brings peace to the elderly who have spent decades serving Koon Yam. I wonder if these old people can stand the loss if all these things suddenly go.' The Housing Department said it had no obligation to rehouse the deities, while the Lands Department said the temple might be allowed to be rebuilt at the original site after repairs are completed in a year. But the worshippers doubted the Government would keep its promise. 'The officials say people get rehousing, but not gods,' said 76-year-old Ng Ping. 'There was nothing we could do because they had a bigger say and we were required to listen.' Ms Ng said the temple was a landmark of the estate and attracted hundreds of worshippers. 'Some believers come every day, even though they have moved to other districts. They will miss the temple because they found peace here and they found friends as well.'