The diggers are gone from a site near pristine Tai Long Sai Wan beach, but the mystery remains over how they got there in the first place. Officers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department yesterday monitored the removal of the heavy machinery - including three diggers and a roller - that were taken away on a barge. The removal of the diggers comes in the wake of a public uproar over businessman Simon Lo Lin-shing carrying out excavation work at a site near the beach. The chairman of Mongolia Energy bought more than 70 plots of land totalling 1.8 hectares for an estimated HK$20 million last year. Diggers were first seen clearing vegetation in June and the large-scale work was revealed by the South China Morning Post. A temporary zoning order is now in effect that blocks all new development without prior permission in the area. The Town Planning Board gazetted a Sai Wan development permission area plan, designating the site for 'unspecified use', pending further study of what uses should be allowed. Lo had said he planned to build an organic garden but villagers said the work was for development of a private lodge, including artificial ponds, a tennis court and separate apartment. Who brought in the diggers and how they arrived in the first place is still a mystery. Sai Wan has no road access and it is widely believed that they were brought in by sea, most likely illegally crossing a protected beach to get to the construction site. The diggers were removed by A-one Pong Construction Equipment, which leased equipment to the contractor in charge of the site, according to a company spokesman named Lau, who refused to give his full name. He also refused to give the full name of the contractor, who he referred to as Mr Tang. Others tied to Tang repeatedly refused to disclose his full identity. Lau said he knew nothing about the construction at Sai Wan. 'I received a call from Tang so I leased him our machines.' 'We're only responsible for leasing the machines to our clients, we don't care how they are going to use them,' he said. However, he admitted that he assisted Tang to move the machines to Sai Wan by co-ordinating with a shipping company. Lau said he did not know at the time that he had to apply for a permit, or that Tang did not apply for one. 'I would have reminded Tang if I had known,' he said. Another firm, whose phone number was shown on various signs posted at the site, denied it brought in the excavators. Andrew Ho Hoi-tung, director of Sha Tin-based Tung Tat Construction, said: 'I have no idea why our firm's telephone number is posted around the worksite as we are not the contractor, who should be hired directly by the property owner. 'We are just the project consultant for them but we cannot reveal more about the plan, as this should be disclosed by the property owner.' The AFCD is investigating the case and is seeking legal advice to determine whether any of the involved parties should be prosecuted, according to a department spokesman. According to Lau, Tang said that all construction should be stopped, and that they would discontinue leasing the machines. Tang sought a removal permit from the AFCD, Lau said. The department issued a permit to remove the machines a week ago - the same kind of permit that should have been sought to bring the machines onto the beach. Village head Lai Yan said he was not informed that the diggers were to be removed. 'I had no idea when they were moving those diggers away. The dogs barked loudly at 7am and I saw people from the AFCD heading towards Sai Wan.' Lai said he did not want the big machines back. 'The property agents did not tell me they were sending in diggers at the beginning, the machines were too big, they should have brought smaller ones.'