A rural leader in Yuen Long has accused newly elected lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick of spreading “white terror” over the death threats he claimed to have received , despite admitting the veteran activist might have “offended” some rural landlords. Leung Fuk-yuen , chairman of the Shap Pat Heung rural committee, which oversees some 30 villages in the south and east of Yuen Long, said yesterday that the incident had been exaggerated by Chu’s high-key manner, and had prompted people to think Hong Kong was a “horrible place”. On Sunday, hundreds of Hongkongers gathered outside police headquarters to support Chu, who said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had promised him over the phone to look into a controversial public housing project in Yuen Long. Chu, who had for years taken on vested interests over land rights in the New Territories, faced escalated death threats and has been under round-the-clock police protection since last Thursday. “Chu always has a lot of opinions on land issues ... He might not quite understand the tradition in the New Territories,” Leung said. He added that indigenous residents and rural landlords would naturally be “unhappy” whenever traditions were disrupted. It is understood that the alleged intimidation might be linked to Chu’s campaign against the use of a plot of land in the Wang Chau area of Yuen Long, where the government had to relocate and reduce the scale of a public housing project in face of opposition from rural leaders. A source said police suspect a triad in Yuen Long is behind the death threats against Chu, and that the authorities are looking into the possible involvement of a rural strongman. Leung said the indigenous residents and landlords were not opposed to the idea of land development. Instead, they just demanded a “fair and reasonable” price if the government wanted to take the land back. The already very congested traffic near the site of the proposed public housing project also needed to be tackled before more houses were built, Leung said. He accused Chu, who claimed a “government-business-triad-landlord collusion” was behind the relocation of the public housing project, of exaggeration and sensationalism. Instead, he said, it should be “cooperation” with consideration of interests of different shareholders. Churesponded to Leung’s accusation by reiterating his appeal to reform the Heung Yee Kuk , or rural council, so the decision making could be more transparent and democratic in the future. Calling Leung a “long-time friend”, Chu said the kind of “co-operation” Leung stated had been under the table, and general public – especially those at disadvantage – did not have a say on the decisions that would affect their interests. “Hong Kong is a place for Hong Kong people. We don’t want financial groups, rural landowners, or even triad to make decision on our behalf. The government should be facing Hong Kong citizens directly.” Chu said he had received no actual threat under the police’s protection, but he might consider moving into the Legislative Council complex with his family to ensure their personal safety. Meanwhile, the police are investigating threats received by a second lawmaker-elect who has been working on similar issues as Chu Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Democratic Party’s vice-chairman who won a seat in New Territories West, told the media today he will go to the Tuen Mun police stationtoday to have statements taken.