Villager fumes over site of new home

A FORMER Chek Lap Kok villager is furious that the new home given to him by the Government is in the middle of a noisy, dusty work site.

Ho Yung-hei and his wife, three-year-old son and five-month-old daughter were relocated to Wong Lung Hang village in January to make way for the new airport. Mr Ho's family had lived on Chek Lap Kok for seven generations.

But no sooner had they arrived when five-tonne lorries started rumbling past their door every few minutes from 8 am to 9 pm, carrying earth from the site of a reservoir to be completed by 1996.

Sometimes the trucks were overloaded and being driven too fast, Mr Ho said.

Rubble piled on a hill behind the houses was at risk of tumbling down in heavy rains, Mr Ho said.

The other two Chek Lap Kok families granted houses have rented them out to workers and live elsewhere.

''The noise [from the lorries] can't be avoided, but I have complained about the speed. I have small children and what if they are playing near the road? The lorries can't stop immediately,'' he said.

The trucks stirred up so much dust that Mr Ho, who lives next to the road, has installed air-conditioners for the first time in his life, at a cost of $12,000.

The investment may now be wasted because the contractors started spraying water to control the dust problem on the day the air-cons were installed. Mr Ho wants compensation.

The spraying began only after the Islands District Office intervened and several complaints from Mr Ho.

''The Water Supplies Department [which is building the reservoir] never consulted us before this project started,'' he said. ''They have cheated us.'' A department spokesman said there was a question mark over Mr Ho's claim for compensation because the air-conditioners were not necessarily bought because of the dust.

He also said it was up to the Islands District Office to consult Mr Ho, but the office said it was up to the Tung Chung Rural Committee to tell him. The committee was informed two years ago about the reservoir.

Assistant District Officer Betty Tam Fung-kwan did not know if Mr Ho was told in advance of the work, but said his concerns were raised at regular meetings between the residents and the contractors and departments involved in airport-related projects.

The police were also alerted to the safety problem of overloaded and speeding trucks, she said.

Fabian Pedrazzini of the Green Lantau Association said the case of contractors failing to take basic steps to minimise their impact was not an isolated one.

Ironically, Mr Ho, who used to raise pigs and vegetables on Chek Lap Kok, works as a night security guard on the reservoir construction site, earning $4,000 a month. He also sells drinks and snacks to workers and passers-by.

''Even though I am paid to do the night shift here, doesn't mean I have to suffer. If they don't like it, they can fire me,'' he said.