TENANTS of a four-storey building on prime Mongkok real estate have quit their homes after what they claim is a sinister intimidation campaign by hired thugs. Residents and businessmen at 18-24 Fa Yuen Street said they accepted substandard compensation because they were too scared to resist. One was so badly beaten by a mystery gang that he is about to have a second operation for stomach wounds. But a director of the company buying the property last week denied hiring triads to force out the tenants. Dorothy Wong Choi-ha, an appointed director of Richest Plan Company, said the firm had no intention of intimidating householders and was in no way implicated in the events. However, she acknowledged the agent on the deal had promised the building would be empty by October. ''When we bought the building, we knew there were still tenants living there, but the agent guaranteed all tenants would leave before we finished the deal,'' she said. ''I really don't know why such things have been happening. ''We have never hired thugs to force residents out.'' Ms Wong refused to release the name of the agent. A Sunday Morning Post investigation discovered Richest Plan agreed to buy the building for $105 million from wealthy minibus businessman Ma Ah-muk in May. The company paid an advance of $21 million, promising the remaining $84 million would be paid on October 19. The Company Registry record shows Richest Plan, set up in March, is a shell company as are its shareholders, Realty Dragon and Onglory Company. Richest Plan's address is Suffolk Road, Kowloon Tong, in premises belonging to Utahloy Management Company, where Ms Wong works. She refused to comment on the relationship between the companies. Meanwhile, 21 of the 22 tenants have signed an agreement to move out of the building. The last tenant owns an electronic games centre on the ground floor. A worker there said the owner was away. On top of the ordinary tenants, 20 families sub-letting flats will also have to move out before October 5. The main tenants will receive compensation of between $60,000 and $80,000; those sub-letting will get about $10,000. They claimed they signed after receiving threats and hearing of the ordeal of their neighbour, Lau Cheung. Mr Lau, 75, was attacked two weeks ago by a gang. He was struck on the head with a mobile telephone and beaten so severely in the stomach he is now awaiting a second operation at Kwong Wah hospital. According to police, Mr Lau had failed to reach an agreement on what compensation he should recieve during a discussion with several men an hour before the attack. After the incident, Mr Lau signed the agreement, accepting $10,000. His daughter, Lau Mei-wood, said they might not be able to find a cheap enough room at such short notice. Kwan Kit, who has run a small shoe factory for 20 years, said he might have to close his business because he was having difficulty finding a cheap place to move to. ''If we cannot continue this business, my six workers may be made umemployed,'' Mr Kwan, 62, said. He said he had no choice but to move: ''Some muscular guys knocked on our door three or four times a day. They were very fierce and said, 'If you don't move, see whether you can live well here'. ''I am very scared. I don't want to be another Mr Lau.'' Tenants and workers said the intimidation ended once the agreements were signed. Mongkok district police Inspector Chow Chong-wai said officers had increased patrols and would keep a high profile at the building. But he said it was difficult to prove intimidation by thugs sufficiently to satisfy a court. Inspector Chow said officers arrested a 24-year-old man last Monday on suspicion of harassment. He is now on police bail. Close attention would be paid to other old buildings in the vicinity, the inspector said. Social worker Ng Kwok-wah said residents would not have surrendered so easily if police had shown an interest earlier. ''They only paid attention after the media reports,'' Mr Ng said. ''Now all tenants have lost their homes without reasonable compensation. The police think such cases are civil matters.''