Sports shooting enthusiasts claim government departments have frustrated efforts to build a world-class range by pushing up the project's costs more than HK$100 million. The Hong Kong Shooting Association, which runs the sport in the city, yesterday called a news conference to highlight difficulties it has faced in building the Tuen Mun range, which it has been planning since 2007. The claims come after members of the Hong Kong Rifle Association last week announced a campaign to save another range, in Lai Chi Kok. The Rifle Association, which has operated the Kau Wah Keng shooting range in Lai Chi Kok since 1964, said it would seek a judicial review to stave off closure of its range next month. The Shooting Association said yesterday it was being thwarted in its efforts to build an international-standard range on a former landfill in Tuen Mun. The Tuen Mun range, in Pillar Point Valley, was originally planned to host events in the East Asian Games in 2009, but construction has yet to begin. The 13 shooting events planned for the Games had to be cut to four and an Audit Commission report said the delay had damaged Hong Kong's image as a host. The Shooting Association said yesterday that in 2007, when the government first suggested Pillar Point Valley for the Games' shooting events, it estimated that the venue would cost HK$30 million. Association vice-chairman Cheng Shu-ming said the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) did not issue the two required land licences until October 2008 - just 14 months before the Games - leaving too little time for construction. Efforts since then to press ahead with the project have blocked, with the building plans rejected five times from mid-2009 to 2010. Each time there were new structural and infrastructural requirements that pushed the cost to the present estimate of HK$136 million. 'It was still a reasonable demand when they raised it for the first, second and the third time,' Cheng said. 'But the fourth time it was too much.' Cheng said the requirements imposed by the government departments included building a platform to raise the range above the ground to avoid the accumulation of methane from the landfill. He said this alone would cost HK$80 million to HK$90 million. A Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokesman said it had co-ordinated with different departments for the project. He said the time taken for the EPD to approve the land licences was due to 'various actions or inactions' by the Shooting Association. A spokesman for the EPD said it could not approve the land licences until the association had obtained planning permission from the Town Planning Board, a process which had taken 18 months.