Nearly 50 stall operators at a Sha Tin Wai public housing estate have decried the Housing Society's refusal to offer a bigger discount on rental charges and demanded a 30 per cent cut. Mo Ting-pong, chairman of the Jat Min Chuen stall operators' alliance, said yesterday that members received letters from the society this month informing them of a rent cut offer in response to their requests. 'We have asked the Housing Society to reduce rents for many months and they responded to us only this month. But ... it's less than 10 per cent,' Mr Mo said. 'The Housing Society warned us not to tell anyone about the exact rental reduction offered and threatened to cancel the offer if we made the figures public. So, we can only say it is very little. We never thought the Housing Society could control what we can talk about with our fellow stall operators, like a dictator.' He said 47 stall operators would refuse to pay rent next month. The operators had been hit hard by competition from a supermarket chain introduced by the Housing Society, he said. 'Only four stalls are still operating in the Jat Min Chuen wet market, as they cannot compete with the supermarket on this estate.' Yau Yiu-wah, 42, who sells pork and beef, said: 'I manage to sell only one pig a day, as the supermarket also sells fresh meat. When I asked the Housing Society if there would be another competitor, it did not tell me the supermarket would sell fresh meat.' The society told him that it could not control what others sold. The society's corporate communications manager, Peter Kuk Kwok-yung, said it could not afford a 30 per cent cut, as leases were granted in line with commercial principles. Mr Kuk said the supermarket had been on the estate for years, but had recently started selling fresh food. 'Residents welcome that, as they have more choices. ... we do not allow any single stall operator to enjoy a monopoly.' The society said about 75 per cent of the leasing area was rented out and 21 stall operators were working there.