Shenzhen, scared of being marginalised by the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, has been granted jurisdiction over an island that has been the subject of a tug-of-war between it and Zhuhai for 19 years, according to local media. Inner Lingding Island, located on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary between Hong Kong's Yuen Long and Shenzhen's Shekou, is currently home to a wildlife reserve but is rich in tourism potential. Shenzhen and Zhuhai have been arguing for 19 years about who should have jurisdiction over the island - about a third the size of Lamma Island - but the Guangdong provincial government only made an administrative decision on Friday, the Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday. The decision allows Shenzhen to plan and build a nine-kilometre bridge to the island from Shekou, which could then connect with the western delta area using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge - a project that does not include Shenzhen. Inner Lingding Island is a habitat for macaque monkeys. The provincial government established the nature reserve, covering the island and mangroves in Shenzhen's Futian district, in May 1988. Although it is closer to the eastern shore of the Pearl River estuary, Zhuhai authorities claimed jurisdiction over Inner Lingding Island in the 1990s. Zhuhai, whose main administrative centre is 24 kilometres away on the western shore of the Pearl River, based its contention on an official document issued in 1952. But Shenzhen rejected the claim, saying the central government had included the island in the city's special economic zone in 1979. Guangdong authorities decided to let Zhuhai manage the island in 1992, citing 'national defence reasons'. But Shenzhen refused to accept the decision, and both cities set up police stations on the 4.8 square kilometre island. The provincial government then ordered both cities to withdraw their officers and promised to look into their claims but never did, allowing the dispute to drag on. Meanwhile, the island lagged behind in economic development. In 1994, villagers on the island raised 13 million yuan to build a holiday resort, which was built but never opened for business. A Shekou company once announced a plan to invest 30 million yuan to build a holiday park on the island, but Zhuhai officials refused to back down and the project stalled. The nature reserve on the island is not open to the public, and there is no public transport to the island. In the 19th century, Inner Lingding Island was an anchorage for European ships sailing to and from Guangzhou, where Chinese customs measured cargo and levied duties.