image

Hong Kong Rugby Union

Tin Shui Wai field: community activist wants to boot rugby out, saying there is an imbalance in the area’s planning

  • Mo Kai-hong says he is not backed by a developer or organisation
  • He says he simply wants to ‘raise discussion’ on better use of the ground
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 October, 2018, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 October, 2018, 9:40pm

Land use disputes usually pitch locals against high-powered, rich real estate developers looking to erect massive towers for a substantial profit. This is a bit different.

Mo Kai-hong, who calls himself the community organiser of the Tin Shui Wai New Force, made an application via the Hong Kong Town Planning Board to “rezone” the government-owned land site at Tin Shui Wai, which features a 10,486 square metre area that is known as a rugby hotbed .

The pitch is currently home to the Pandas rugby team, and holds a special place within the heart of the Hong Kong Rugby Union as the organisation has thrown its full weight against Mo’s application.

In an email response to the South China Morning Post, Mo said he does not have any backing from any developers or organisations, other than his own, and said the goal of the application is simply to “raise discussion” about the overall “unbalance” in planning over the past two decades in the Tin Shui Wai area.

On his Facebook page where he describes himself as a politician, he noted the recently announced Tin Shui Wai public market, which was mentioned in the recent policy address, does nothing for the locals in the northern part of the area. Thus the rugby grounds need to go, and something else should take its place.

“The field was identified as the commercial centre of North Tin Shui Wai over 20 years ago according to a study by the Planning Department,” said Mo. He said he would like to see the area become a place for a community activity centre given its size.

The official application notes Mo would like to see the area rezoned from “open space” to a “comprehensive development area” which would feature a community complex, market, cooked food market and car park. The move has amassed the full wrath of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, who have started a petition against the application.

Brandon Huang, the general manager of rugby participation for the HKRU, said they are “very disappointed that the grounds are in danger of being sacrificed to other local needs”.

“Although we are sympathetic to other interest groups, we believe the ground has played a very positive role within the whole society.”