They are taking the Urban Renewal Authority to court in their fight for compensation at market rates Property owners and tenants in Tai Kok Tsui affected by an Urban Renewal Authority redevelopment project are refusing to move out until they receive what they consider to be reasonable compensation. Despite a September 14 deadline for their eviction under the scheme, 13 tenants and property owners still live and run businesses in Beech, Pine, Ivy and Anchor Streets. The authority started to take over the land from 298 households and 167 property owners in the area, a mixture of residential blocks, dock facilities and clusters of workshops, but five owners and six tenants vowed to stay. 'For the remaining occupants, the URA, on behalf of the government, has initiated legal action by issuing writ of summons to recover possession of the premises to facilitate redevelopment,' a spokesman for the authority said. The sides will confront each other in the District Court on November 20. 'We will not leave until we get reasonable compensation,' said Tse Ngai-shing, who runs an ironworks in Beech Street. 'We are not against redevelopment. We just want to fight for fair compensation, a compensation plan that will allow us to resettle and continue doing our own business. 'We know our chance of winning the court case is slim, but we hope our case will arouse public attention to the issue.' The URA offered HK$3.19 million compensation for his 700 sq ft property, but a private evaluation rates his shop at HK$5.85 million. 'I do not care about the money. I simply want to continue my business, to have a shop nearby,' Mr Tse said, adding that old neighbours were his main clients. 'If I move out of this area, I will lose many of my loyal customers and the risk to my business will increase enormously.' The owners and tenants were seeking help from lawmakers who promised to raise the matter in the Legislative Council and start discussions on the issue as they hope the government will review its policy. 'Redevelopment causes the same problems in every district,' Mr Tse said. 'We will not be able to benefit from any policy change or review. It will take ages for legal matters to be completed. We just hope that our cases can be lessons for the government and others.' Frontier legislator Leung Yiu-chung, who is helping the remaining occupants, urged the sides to sit down and talk. 'They have been writing to each other only. The two parties simply have not had the chance to understand each others' problems as well as the practical situation.' Mr Leung said it was normal for such occupants to struggle to find other shops to run their businesses at a reasonable price. 'Because people affected by redevelopment projects suddenly all come out to find a place in the same district, prices will of course go up. Some people even push the prices higher for speculation.' Meanwhile, the URA said a mechanism was available under the Lands Resumption Ordinance by which people could claim compensation. 'Negotiation on the statutory compensation is ongoing and will continue even after the clearance action. We will endeavour to continue our negotiation for a peaceful settlement,' the URA spokesman said. It will be the second time that the authority and people affected by its redevelopment projects have faced each other in court. In March 2004, two tenants in Sham Shui Po were ordered to move by the court under the Lands Resumption Ordinance as they refused to move out of their shops in Fuk Wing Street.