Between Long Keng and O Tau, off Sai Sha Road, a developer is trashing many acres that were once woodland and wetland. It used to be that every kind of wild or semi-wild creature could be seen there: feral cattle, pigs, butterflies, birds, frogs and a python named Monty. The developer moved in mechanical diggers to clear the area and entertain the villagers with bangs, thumps and the screaming of engines. Monty tried to escape by crossing the road. No more Monty.
As previously reported in SAI KUNG BUZZ Long Keng resident Herve Bouvresse, a French kick boxer and local politician, acquired a set of business plans that the developers were using to to pull in other investors. It showed the developers hoped to build as many as 60 houses on the former woodlands and wetlands. The columns of figures showed they aim for total sales of about $1.5 billion and profits of as much as $900 million.
Here’s a video presentation of this story:
Now we turn this space over to Jonathan Zeal, Herve’s next door neighbour and also an anti-development campaigner:
By Jonathan Zeal
We are in a really tough spot as we face defeat against a ruthless developer in Sai Kung…so are seeking ideas and assistance.
Over the last 10 years we (the villagers of Long Keng) have been fighting a battle with an individual or individuals who are determined to build a mass of housing in our as yet undeveloped valley near Long Keng/O Tau, off Sai Sha Road.
Attached are two photos – a Before and After. “After” being today. A mass of fencing was erected across the valley last week and today an excavator has started groundwork to link the two sides up with an illegal road. The land this road will go across is partially village land (some of which the developer has acquired) and partially GB/V land. It will link up with an area that is zoned as V and on which some approved development of small houses has been going on over the last two years.
The Outline Zoning Plan for the area specifically states that as a wetland, much of this area is not suitable for development…
Herve Bouvresse, our Non-Indigenous Village Rep, has called on the Police, the Lands Dept and Planning Dept to assist and they have – as expected – done so with little effect. The Planning Dept conducted a site visit recently and stated that although some of the access is clearly illegal and they have been processing a case against the landowner, they only have the power of “soft enforcement” (which the developer is ignoring).
The irony is that the landowner of some of this access route who is facing prosecution (a member of an old Chinese family who lives in the UK) is supporting us and has been told by the authorities to ensure his land is not used for illegal development. The developer is encroaching on his land (with some intimidation, we believe) to continue this road development. The landowner does not have the resources to fence it, so instead will probably have to surrender (sell) it to the developer.
Does anyone have any advice as to how we can further escalate this situation to the authorities? Is there anyone in any Govt Dept who would actually tackle this quickly – or are we facing a lost cause?