We must respect rule of law and recognise rights of land owners

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 June, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 June, 2016, 12:15am

I am a Hong Kong resident and have been particularly interested in the land dispute in which Henderson Land attempted to recover 5,500 sq ft of land from a former tenant in Ma Shi Po village in Fanling.

I am not a legal professional but from the facts I obtained from the press, I simply do not understand why it is so difficult to reclaim what is yours and why the developer has had to go through such extraordinary lengths – court proceedings and injunctions – in order to obtain what is, simply and legally speaking, theirs.

Why is everybody trying to use the government-business collusion as an excuse to seek public sympathy and turn the public against these developers? Do we not still have the rule of law? Does the private property ownership principle still apply? Are these not the bedrock of any civilised city – the rule of law?

Perhaps we should examine this from a different perspective.

Imagine you own an apartment in a tenement building and now you want to sell it to a developer who wants to knock it down to build a high-rise to house more people.

However, your tenant refuses to move out and claims you are colluding with the rich and powerful to kick him out and make him homeless.

The tenant in question and his family have lived there for years and firmly believe they have the right to be there for as long as they want.

A predicament it may be, but does a tenant have the same rights as the owner of the property in question?

No matter what and how the landlord wants to use the apartment, it is up to the landlord. The tenant is a temporary occupant, not the permanent legitimate owner of the property. It is that simple.

We must see what is right and wrong based on the fundamental facts and should not be blinded by those who try to sway or control public opinions by manipulating our emotions.

It is easy to sell a social justice fairytale about the big bad government strong-arming the little guy, but people have failed to separate themselves from a story of supposedly good versus evil, and the cold, hard facts.

W. L. Au, Wong Tai Sin