Some fabric vendors are facing a tenfold rise in operating costs at another site after being forced to make way for a public-funded housing project in Sham Shui Po. The Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar will be demolished after the government notified around 50 vendors the land would be redeveloped for housing under the Home Ownership Scheme. The government issued letters explaining the relocation arrangement to licensed and unlicensed vendors yesterday. They were given the option of moving to the nearby Tung Chau Street Temporary Market, return their hawker licence and leave the business. A government source revealed that the first two blocks out of seven in the new site would be reserved exclusively for fabric vendors. Around 20 fresh food vendors would be asked to move to other blocks to create the space. With the government requiring to complete the housing project by 2021-2022, the land in Yen Chow Street will be returned for redevelopment in the third quarter of this year the latest. Vendors are expected to leave the original market in May or June. The source said the current monthly rent in the new site ranged from HK$500 to HK$2,000, depending on size of stall. The stalls range from just two square metres to 13 sq m. “The rent in government-owned markets has not increased since 1998. A monthly rent at around HK$2,000 is much cheaper than that of stores,” the source said. However, licensed fabric vendors at Yen Show Street presently only pay around HK$3,000 a year for their licence, with no rent. Unlicensed ones don’t have to pay anything. Ho Ying, who has been selling fabrics in the bazaar for 38 years, said the rent was too high. “The cost is expensive for that location – there are lots of homeless people there,” said Ho, adding that most of his customers, who were young women and students, might be scared off. He criticised being forced to move out in May or June as it was too much of a rush for them. He said they needed at least six months to prepare for the move.