In his parting shot, Winston Chu says the government's lack of respect for laws doomed his efforts to failure Disillusioned harbour protection campaigner Winston Chu Ka-sun has admitted he has been going down the wrong path for eight years in his battle to save Victoria Harbour by using the law against the government. 'We tried to use the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance to stop the government causing damage to the harbour,' he said. 'But we found it was a total failure because the law cannot restrict the government. My work over the past eight years was on the wrong path. 'If the government had the rule-of-law spirit, it would have complied ... It is very sad individuals have to take the government to court and force it to comply with the law - that has seriously damaged the government's image.' Mr Chu has stepped down as chairman of the Society for the Protection of the Harbour after receiving threats to his family. This followed a setback in his legal battle with the government on Monday, when Mr Justice Michael Hartmann declined to halt work on the Central-Wan Chai reclamation. Mr Chu said yesterday that the duty to protect the harbour should be returned to the community. 'I have been fighting on my own over the past eight years - that is wrong,' he said. 'I should return the responsibility to the public because the harbour is a public asset.' He said the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Michael Suen Ming-yeung should fulfil his role as a civil servant and consider community views in policymaking. However, Mr Suen insisted the government had always abided by the ordinance in reclaiming parts of the Victoria Harbour. Hours before Mr Chu announced his resignation, Mr Suen defended the government's reclamation projects, saying the ordinance, drafted and tabled to the Legislative Council by Mr Chu in 1997, gave rise to grey areas. 'The ordinance has strong principles, but lacks concrete circumstances under which reclamation is justified,' he said. 'This is why the government had not acted against the law before the judicial review. It was the judicial review which gave us a clear interpretation of the legislation.' In July, the court ruled that the Town Planning Board breached the Protection of Harbour Ordinance in approving the Wan Chai reclamation project. The court heard that reclamation projects were only justifiable when they met criteria of public benefit, instead of the test of 'compelling public necessity'. 'I have to repeat that the government's technical experts had come up with a zoning plan which abides to the minimalist principle,' Mr Suen said. 'If other people can suggest a better way to reclaim less of the harbour so as to accommodate the Wan Chai-Central bypass, we would be very willing to accept it. The Wan Chai-Central bypass is crucial to easing traffic congestion on Hong Kong island.' He said contracts for reclamation projects might have to be extended because of delays due to court hearings, but that compensation was unnecessary at this stage. The government is only undertaking reclamation work which is capable of being reversed, until its appeal in December against July's judicial review.