HONG KONG will continue to lose historical relics if the Government fails to provide funds to a local archaeological group, legislators will hear this week. On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Archaeological Society will lodge a formal complaint with the Legislative Council's recreational and culture panel over the administration's refusal to fund its plan to hire two full-time experts. Society chairman William Meacham said his group had already missed out on several projects as it had too few volunteers. The Government gives the society $130,000 a year and invites it to check new archaeological sites but the Antiquities and Monuments Office uses freelancers if group members are unavailable. Mr Meacham said freelancers could not be counted on to preserve historical relics. 'They have to rely on the Government to a large extent, while we can work independently.' The Yuan dynasty iron smelter which the society discovered at Chek Lap Kok would have been missed by most academic and freelance archaeologists, he said. 'We are only asking for $900,000 for two full-time experts,' he said, adding that the Government would then receive the income from any fee-paying projects they undertook. But principal assistant secretary for recreation and culture Wan Chung-chu said the Government could not cover the costs as the society was classified as an interest group.