Villagers offer to buy back idle plot

The site in Sha Tin was acquired more than 30 years ago but nothing has been done to it

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 4:07am

Villagers accused of occupying government land for more than 30 years want to buy the land back if the government is not developing it.

This came as Lands Department officers erected posts and signs along the boundary of the plot in Pai Tau village, Sha Tin, yesterday after the ombudsman in January criticised the government for ignoring misuse of the land for three decades.

The site, which is the size of two basketball courts, had been illegally used as a car park and by hawkers. Villagers are also drying their clothes there.

Lam Kwok-yin , the village's spokesman and a former vice-chairman of rural body Heung Yee Kuk, said the land was acquired by the government from the villagers in 1978 for about HK$18 per square foot when it was seeking to develop a satellite town in Sha Tin.

"But there has not been any development on the land. That means the acquisition was unnecessary," he said. "We would like to buy it back for the village's use. We were cooperative when the government acquired the land from us, and now it should think from our perspective."

He said he hoped to discuss the issue with government departments next month.

"When the government acquired the land, it promised it would build some recreational facilities for us. But the promise was never realised," he said.

Villager Lam Koon-sing, 58, said the government's action yesterday was ridiculous. Posts were erected in front of his house and a flower stall his family operated. He says there are a few hundred residents in the village.

"The government paved the land for us, and now it's saying we have greedily occupied the land. That's absurd," he said.

The ombudsman's report found the Transport Department had added anti-skid road surfacing to the access point, encouraging illegal parking.