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Worsening dispute with developers intent on $1.5 billion raises fears at Long Keng

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The growing development filmed from near Long Keng as it is today. Houses of O Tau on the left. Illegal road in the foreground.

The confrontation between Long Keng residents and developers with 1.5 billion dollar signs in their eyes has worsened. Threats have been made and cars vandalised, said a village representative, who does not want to be named.

Five houses have been built or are under construction at the site off Sai Sha Road between Long Keng and O Tau that used to be fauna-rich forest and wetlands. One villager snaffled the plans the developers were showing to potential investors. They revealed total sales are proposed of HK$1.5 billion with profits of $900 million, implying the developers want to build about 60 houses.

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Illegal road: Planning Department has stuck up a reinstatement notice, already ripped down.

A Long Keng representative spoke to people who have applied to raise a two sq km plot of land 1.5 metres “for organic farming”. He was told they could not guarantee housing would not be built and warned “you will regret it if you object”.

A road has been constructed illegally from New Long Keng village to the main development site. It runs right in front of Long Keng residents’ houses and is now laid with concrete for heavy lorries.

The Planning Department has stuck reinstatement notices on the “organic farming” land and on the illegal road. These notices have been ripped down. “Every single family living in Long Keng is a member of the Long Keng Concern Group. We are working together as a community” to stop the $1.5 billion development, which if carried out over time will wreck the entire Long Keng – O Tau valley. Cars have been vandalised twice with a nail hammered into a tyre and a windscreen smashed. Another village representative has been separately threatened.

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Drone photo of the development.

The developers have spotted the Long Keng groups’ Facebook page and messages from them and their supporters appear. One commentator says old people need a road and organic farming will improve the area, while another is belligerent abusing the villagers and saying the developers have the right to do what they want.

One Long Keng family claim some of the land over which the illegal road passes belongs to them, and are suing for compensation and land recovery.

 

 

4 Comments on Worsening dispute with developers intent on $1.5 billion raises fears at Long Keng

  1. John Wright // 12 June, 2017 at 5:38 AM // Reply

    Corruption rears its ugly head again, while Lands, Planning Dept and Town Planning Board turn a deliberate blind eye.

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  2. Agree with this comment – It seems the government is helpless (perhaps deliberately so) to tackle this kind of sneaky development in spite of it being in clear breach of planning regulations – erecting signs requesting the developer re-instates the land is pretty pointless without firm legal action with large penalties against the developer.

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  3. One of the key points about this case is that the land where the development is currently taking place is allocated for development. No-one in the local village(s) has any beef with this. However, “the developer” is doing everything they can to use this plot as a springboard to then build out into a large piece of unspoiled wetland, which over time they will claim as theirs too. (For those familiar with HK planning, you will know how this can be done).

    As part of their scheme they have built an illegal access road across greenbelt, government and private land. It is these innocent private landowners who the Govt are threatening to prosecute, making it incumbent on them (the landowners) to take action against “the developer” or to just sit idly by and get the developer to reimburse them for any fines they receive. It’s a bit like the war on drugs, when frequently there is no firm action against any of the masterminds and it’s just the low ranking mules who get nabbed. Ultimately there’s no real deterrent and “the developer” gets away with it.

    But what also really pisses us off (the local villagers) is the fact that despite years of repeated pleas to Govt departments to monitor and prevent the corrupt acquisition of ding land in Long Keng, they have done squat all. The Small House Policy is not a law – yet it is held up as a god given right of “indigenous” locals. However, if anyone tries to get the Govt to use the laws that do exist to take enforcement action, they apparently cannot do anything until it is way too late and after-the-fact…

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  4. Not forgetting that all this was reported to the ICAC who in the end sat on their hands.

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