A legislator yesterday called on the government to pull down village houses built illegally on public land in the New Territories. The call came after the South China Morning Post reported how thousands of village houses may have been built on government land and gone unnoticed for years. The problem was highlighted by the construction of a six-storey, 10,000 sq ft village house in Nam Hau Tsuen, Yuen Long, which was only noticed when CLP Power complained that a lamppost had been removed to make way for it. The site has now been cordoned off by the Lands Department. Legislator Ng Leung-sing, who is also a Housing Authority member, said village houses occupying government land should be vacated and demolished once they were discovered. 'No matter if it is government or private land, it is intolerable and unacceptable that someone has occupied the land illegally. The government should take the initiative to protect public property,' Mr Ng said. He said the problem was a complicated historical issue created by unclear land boundaries in villages. Rectifying it might prove costly and time-consuming. Wong Shing-chi, a Democrat legislator, echoed Mr Ng's comments that the problem had to be resolved, especially when the illegal structures were not approved and posed potential dangers. But he disagreed that villagers living in illegal structures on government land should be kicked out immediately, unless the piece of land was reclaimed for other purposes. A spokeswoman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said last night it would take action against illegal structures on a case-by-case basis. But she declined to say if the bureau would provide more resources to do so. 'Action will be taken on a case-by-case basis and when a case is detected,' she said. The bureau also said it had taken appropriate action against the six-storey village house in Nam Hau Tsuen and was now investigating the owners' claims that the land was privately owned. Since January, the government has taken action against 1,060 structures on government land. There is no breakdown available on how many cases involved village houses.