Two elderly men seeking about $50 million each in compensation for losing their business premises in a redevelopment project lost a legal battle yesterday. They were ordered to cease operations so the Cheung Sha Wan project, details of which were not immediately known, could go ahead. It is the first time the government has used the Land Resumption Ordinance to repossess land for a redevelopment project. One of the men, Fung Hing, 75, demanded $58.7 million for his tyre repair shop in Fuk Wing Street, which measures about 200 sq ft. But the Urban Renewal Authority only offered $799,500. His neighbour, Leung Chuk-yau, 60, sought $49.9 million for his Chinese medicine store. He was offered $954,000. Judge K.W. Wong told the defendants that eviction and compensation were separate issues and the ordinance allowed the government to take the land before compensation had been agreed. But he said he was concerned about the livelihood of the defendants and their families. A group of about 20 residents from other areas where redevelopment projects are planned staged a rally outside the District Court in Wan Chai yesterday. Some said they feared the ruling would set a precedent that would enable the government to displace residents without proper compensation. The two men and their families yesterday described the compensation offer as 'ridiculously small'. A statement by the authority said it would meet the families again, but it was not clear whether it would make fresh offers. It promised that the two men could keep their premises for the time being, but warned it would not allow the issue to drag on forever. Mr Fung's son, Fung Kin-ming, said: 'We deliberately asked for an astronomical sum of compensation in retaliation at the ridiculously small amount they offered.'