Wharf (Holdings) chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching reopened roads in front of his two luxury Shek O homes after concerns that he and other tycoons encroached on public land by erecting gates on public roads leading to their houses. Woo was one of four tycoons named in a newspaper report as having privatised public roads without government permission to increase the privacy of their residential areas. The others included Macau gambling baron Stanley Ho Hung-sun, Central Development chairman Hui Sai-fun and Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee-siong, all living in Shek O or Repulse Bay. The affected stretches ranged up to 100 metres long, some with signs saying the areas were private land. The Lands Department said yesterday that no permission was given for the gates and that the practice violated land lease conditions. It said it sent letters to the homeowners on Wednesday asking them to rectify the situations within 14 days. But a department spokesman said owners who wished to retain the gates could apply for a short-term tenancy, which the department would consider if the land was not needed for anything else. A Wharf (Holdings) spokesman said Woo, who owned properties at 22 Big Wave Bay Road and 18 Shek O Road, had already reopened the roads but did not say when he had done so. A spokeswoman for Sino Land denied chairman Ng had fenced off public land. She said the gate at his property was built on private land for security reasons and Ng did not receive a letter from the Lands Department. According to the report by Apple Daily, Ng did not privatise any public area in erecting the gate in front of his house but a sign had been put up on a public road leading to Big Wave Bay Road saying it was private. Angela Leong On-kei, Stanley Ho's wife, declined to comment and Hui Sai-fun could not be reached yesterday.