Without a supportive mother, Winston Chu Ka-sun might not have embarked on his eight-year crusade to protect the harbour. He says it was his 86-year-old mother, Cissy Chu Fok Wing-yue, who, when looking out of her Mid-Levels flat in 1995, remarked on the chunk of land protruding from Tsim Sha Tsui towards Sheung Wan. 'My mother said: 'Son, go and object [to the reclamation work]'. I was tempted to walk away but was unable to find someone big to take on the job. So I took it with reluctance.' This was how the fight began, when Mr Chu, now 63, was still a Town Planning Board member. He began to lobby legislators' support for the Harbour Protection Ordinance, which later became his weapon. The legislation was passed a few days before the 1997 handover. Nonetheless, the controversial Central and Wan Chai reclamation projects received the go-ahead by legislators a year ago, and Mr Chu argued they would 'turn Victoria Harbour into a river'. After his calls for the government to stop reclamation work went unheeded, he went to court in July and won a landmark court ruling that the Wan Chai project violated the protection ordinance. Mr Chu estimated the cost of his legal campaign, after all the appeals, could hit $10 million and he has twice cancelled orders for new Mercedes-Benzes to help meet campaign costs. 'It's like throwing two cars into the harbour,' he told the South China Morning Post in July. 'I had a quarrel with my mother,' he said. 'She wanted to pay for it all and so did I. In the end we split it.' The July court ruling blocking the Wan Chai reclamation also raised doubts about the other harbour projects. But the Town Planning Board has filed an appeal, which will be heard in December, and the Central reclamation work continues after a court ruling last week. Mr Chu has been seeking public support to stop all reclamation work until the dispute about its legality is settled. The wealthy lawyer took to the streets himself to lobby for support and to collect donations. In a rally last month, attended by hundreds of people, Mr Chu vowed to take to the streets if he failed to get an injunction. 'I have been doing this [legal battle] for eight years. I'm prepared to fight for another eight years,' he declared. But last week he lost, failing to get a court ruling to halt the project. Mr Chu was dealt another blow last week when Next Magazine accused him of acting on behalf of certain developers who could stand to lose if the reclamation work continued. Three days after shaking hands with Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung, Mr Chu decided to return to Britain to resume his teaching career, leaving behind his unfinished dreams.