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Old February 8th, 2014, 05:19 AM   #121
kunming tiger
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Do you think there is resistance among some community groups in HK to building urban areas close to the border out of fear that it might increase the likehood of HK and Shen Zhen being intergrated in the future?
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Old February 8th, 2014, 08:47 AM   #122
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Wonderful facts, thank you to the article author. It’s comprehensible to me now, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck .. ..
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Old February 8th, 2014, 09:23 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by kunming tiger View Post
Do you think there is resistance among some community groups in HK to building urban areas close to the border out of fear that it might increase the likehood of HK and Shen Zhen being intergrated in the future?
Integration is unlikely but locals are concerned the homes built near the border will effectively mean Shenzhen residents can purchase and keep for their children who have HK residency. Hence, locals will not benefit.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 04:30 PM   #124
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Integration is unlikely but locals are concerned the homes built near the border will effectively mean Shenzhen residents can purchase and keep for their children who have HK residency. Hence, locals will not benefit.
You mean the act of purchasing HK property itself will mean the buyers acquires HK residency? Or they fear that the homes being built will be bought by Mainlanders not locals?
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Old February 9th, 2014, 07:19 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by kunming tiger View Post
You mean the act of purchasing HK property itself will mean the buyers acquires HK residency? Or they fear that the homes being built will be bought by Mainlanders not locals?
2nd part. 1st part - investment immigration scheme is no longer applicable.
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Old February 10th, 2014, 02:37 PM   #126
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Lantau set for sea change
The standard
Thursday, January 16, 2014



East Lantau will become a new business district after Central and Kowloon East.

CY Leung said new studies are being done to develop Lantau Island to capitalize on the benefits brought by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

He said there will be fundamental changes to Lantau's functions and development potential after the 55-kilometer bridge and the nine-kilometer Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link are completed in 2016 and 2018.

To prepare the strategy, a Lantau Development Advisory Committee, led by Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po, will be established. The government will explore ways to further develop the eastern waters off the island and neighboring areas to develop an East Lantau metropolis for accommodating a new population, Leung said.

It will become a core business district for promoting economic development and providing job opportunities.

A source said the government plans to reclaim land in the waters between Lantau and Hong Kong Island and also Sunny Bay and expects to start feasibility studies by mid-year. The source said it will provide 1,400 to 2,400 hectares of land on the artificial island.

It also plans to build bridges or tunnels to connect the main island, other artificial islands, western Hong Kong Island or east Lantau. It plans to build leisure facilities in Sunny Bay. The source said the artificial island and Sunny Bay are less controversial as there will be little effect on Chinese White dolphins.

But the source said the government expects to have difficulty in pushing out the plan and will suggest the two areas to attract customers with high consumption power.

Leung also said a preliminary review of supporting infrastructure to develop shopping, entertainment and hotel facilities has been carried out in the artificial land for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities as a "bridgehead economy."

A source said the area would be a lot like the airport but the development will not affect the start of operations in 2016.

Airport Authority chairman Marvin Cheung Kin-tung said it plans to submit an environmental impact assessment report for the three-runway system to the Environmental Protection Department in the first quarter this year. The authority will invite expressions of interest in a new 1,000-room hotel shortly.

Lantau Development Alliance chairman Allen Ha Wing-on said the plan for the crossing facilities "helps to alleviate the urban bottlenecks and enhance Hong Kong's receiving capacity as well as creating job opportunities and promoting the sustainable development of Lantau."
The missing links
Francis Cheung says if East Lantau is to be developed, it needs two connections to thrive - one joining it with Central, and the other linking the airports in Hong Kong and Shenzhen
6 February 2014
South China Morning Post

Given that grand visions outlined in policy addresses often find their way to the dustbin of history, it will be interesting to see whether the proposal for an East Lantau Metropolis, a 1,000-hectare artificial island in waters between Hong Kong Island and Lantau, will ever become reality.

I believe it would stand a better chance if two missing links were added to the picture: one connecting Lantau and Hong Kong via the artificial island; the other, linking the Hong Kong International Airport and the Shenzhen Baoan International Airport.

However, these links face different obstacles. One concerns the current legal protection of Victoria Harbour against unnecessary reclamation, while the other is the proposed third runway for Hong Kong.

Just before the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the Legislative Council passed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, which sets stringent limits to reclamation within Victoria Harbour. More significantly, the western boundary of the harbour was drawn in such a way as to include Green Island, just off the western tip of Hong Kong Island.

The law poses a serious challenge to building a bridge or tunnel linking the proposed metropolis and Hong Kong Island, as land would have to be reclaimed outwards from Kennedy Town towards Green Island to accommodate the link. Given that the passage of the ordinance grew out of environmentalists' opposition to Green Island reclamation under the colonial government, one should expect a tough fight even if it could be justified to the courts that the project addresses a "compelling, overriding and present need" - a key criterion set in precedent cases.

The government could consider anchoring the Hong Kong end of the bridge or tunnel on the south side of the island, for example, near Sandy Bay, as a way of skirting the law. But that would render the connection between the proposed metropolis and Central much more circuitous.

Moreover, a more direct link to Central would make it easier for vehicles entering Hong Kong from the metropolis to connect to the Western Harbour Crossing, giving the city the convenience of a genuine ring road.

As the metropolis is envisioned as a commercial centre, not having a direct connection to Hong Kong Island would be highly impractical. Therefore, it remains to be seen how the government intends to overcome this legal obstacle. Hopefully, legislators can see the strategic importance of this missing piece in the city's infrastructure jigsaw and help find a way to get it built.

The second piece of infrastructure crucial to making Lantau a bona fide "converging point" of traffic from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau is a rail link between the airports in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Indeed, back in 2010, the government had already conceived the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Line, connecting the two airports through Qianhai , with a cross-boundary spur line to Hung Shui Kiu. The project appears to have been mothballed after a public consultation exercise.

A quick cost-benefit analysis would show that the express link should take priority over a third runway.

Based on the government's estimates in 2010, adding a third runway would cost at least 70 per cent more than the express line project. Equally important, the environmental impact of the line should be much smaller than the runway, which involves massive reclamation.

The Hong Kong airport would certainly benefit from the added capacity afforded by an additional runway. But is it really the most strategically sound way to reinforce Hong Kong's status as an aviation hub? As someone who was involved in the planning of both airports, I believe the best move would be to develop better synergies between the two, with Hong Kong focusing on international routes and Shenzhen handling domestic ones.

Hong Kong can never match Shenzhen in terms of the availability of space and planning flexibility. But the express link could put the two airports within 25 minutes' travel time of each other, effectively making Lantau part of a single regional air and surface transit hub. That way, Hong Kong has a better chance of catching more travellers flying into or out of the Pearl River Delta region, along with the economic benefits they would bring.

Part of the official justification for putting the express link on the back-burner a few years ago was uncertainties about service demand. Now that the central government has made a commitment to developing the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone, and with development of Hung Shui Kiu proceeding apace, there should be no question of the need to develop the express link. It's about time the government rid itself of the tunnel vision focused only on adding a third runway.

In the end, there is no point developing Lantau Island if we do not put in place the transport infrastructure needed to augment its role in Hong Kong and across the Pearl River Delta.

Francis Neoton Cheung is the convenor of Doctoral Exchange, a public policy research collective, and a former member of the Land and Building Advisory Committee and the Hong Kong Airport Consultative Committee
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:28 PM   #127
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‘Occupy Tunnel’ threat by villagers
22 January 2014
South China Morning Post

Rural leader threatens to mobilise thousands of people to take over major city road link if new-town compensation demands not met

A Sheung Shui village head has threatened to mobilise thousands of residents to occupy a tunnel in the city if the government rejects their demands for compensation over its plans to demolish homes to make way for a new town.

Kwu Tung South Village representative Tsang Kar-sun aired grievances on behalf of his non-indigenous residents at a Heung Yee Kuk meeting yesterday, amid escalating tensions between the administration and rural communities.

Under government plans, Kwu Tung South will be removed from the map to make way for a new town in the Northeast New Territories.

Last year, the government offered HK$600,000 cash compensation to each eligible family in the affected squatter area. But villagers say it will be of little help.

“The government says each family may get HK$600,000 or a place in public rental housing. But those who choose public rental housing flats will still have to wait,” Tsang said. “Also, some big families will be forced to split up … and HK$600,000 is not enough for them to relocate.”

He said he agreed with an earlier suggestion that HK$2 million should be offered instead. Alternatively, the government could build new houses near the existing ones for villages to relocate within their neighbourhood.

Tsang said he had support from four nearby villages and would stage an “occupy” movement if the government failed to address demands. “We will lie on the ground in a tunnel and paralyse traffic for a whole day,” he said. “We’re not afraid of breaking the law to protest against government wrongdoing.”

The threat is the latest development in a series of rows between the government and rural forces. Last week, kuk executive committee member Leung Wo-ping vowed to “wrestle with the government” over the plan to incorporate country park enclaves into country park areas, which would restrict development.

In light of the incorporation of Tai Long Sai Wan enclave, the kuk decided to strengthen its political power. At yesterday’s meeting, it decided to set up a group to lay out strategies in the next district council and Legislative Council elections.

“We learned a lesson from our struggle and failure in this [Tai Long Sai Wan] incident. Under Hong Kong’s political environment nowadays, we wouldn’t have power without votes … I think we need to re-position ourselves in the coming elections,” kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat said.
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Old March 29th, 2014, 08:30 PM   #128
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Farmer vows fight to stay on land
13 March 2014
South China Morning Post

A week after protest, resident warns further efforts to remove tenants ‘may see blood’

Further moves by the government to take a soon-to-be-developed plot of land in a Fanling village could be met with more resistance and even bloodshed, says a long-time farmer.

The warning from Lai Wing-kuen, 56, comes a week after Lands Department officials, flanked by police officers, tried to take back government land in the area, only to withdraw after a three-hour stand-off with protesting villagers.

“We will fight until the end,” Lai said yesterday. “I don’t rule out the possibility that we may see blood.”

Ma Shi Po is one of a dozen villages included in the government’s new development areas in the northeast New Territories.

Lai has been growing fig-leaf gourds on 40 hectares of occupied government land in the village for three decades.

But he is now being forced out after losing a public tender for a short-term tenancy to a “mysterious company” that was set up just three days before the tendering process last October.

“[The government] said they would support and protect the rights of farmers. These are all lies,” said Lai.

“We’ve been here so long, all we are asking is to let us continue farming here until development actually commences.”

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said he would help Lai file a complaint to the Legislative Council’s public complaints office.

“We are a bit sceptical as to why the land lease was reopened for tender when Mr Lai will have to leave in three years anyway,” Cheung said.

In the past, structures on public land have been allowed to stay without being reopened for public tender, including tycoon Li Ka-shing’s mansion in Deep Water Bay.

Lai pays a monthly land rent of HK$1,100 but the company had offered HK$10,000 a month, Cheung said.

A department spokeswoman said all tendering processes were fair and would go to the highest bidder. The department said the bidder would also have to use the land for agricultural purposes.
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Old April 11th, 2014, 05:55 AM   #129
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Plan for Yuen Long new town submitted
The Standard
Friday, April 11, 2014







Kam Tin South and Pat Heung in Yuen Long will be turned into a new town with flats supply reaching 33,701 units under a Planning Department proposal put forward yesterday.

Half, or about 16,900 units, would be public housing, according to the department's paper submitted to the Town Planning Board yesterday seeking its recommendations on the land use review in the district.

This is part of the short- to medium-term measures to boost housing supply outlined in the 2013 Policy Address.

In particular, 14 sites at the West Rail's Kam Sheung Road Station and Pat Heung Maintenance Centre as well as surrounding areas are now being identified by the department, measuring a total of around 152 hectares.

Nine sites are reserved for private housing, including the two above the station and the maintenance center for 8,752 flats. A total of 16,800 could be available in the primary home market in the future. The remaining five sites around the station are proposed for public estates, making 16,900 units for an estimated 51,700 people.

However, the full realization of the proposal would take time with the fragmented land ownership except the two plots atop the station and the center, the department said.

Upon the board members' agreement, the Yuen Long District will be consulted in the second quarter this year, followed by rural committees and local concern groups.
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Old April 15th, 2014, 05:06 PM   #130
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Town of 90,000 planned for rural Yuen Long areas
12 April 2014
South China Morning Post

Blueprint splits planning board; some fear loss of rural lifestyle, others hope for job creation

The largely rural Kam Tin South and Pat Heung areas in Yuen Long will become a suburban township with a population of more than 90,000 under the government’s latest housing plan.

Details emerged at a meeting of the Town Planning Board yesterday at which members were split over the blueprint.

While some expressed concern over changes to the rural lifestyle and the integration of urban and rural settlements in the district, others hoped there would be good transport for the new town and sufficient job opportunities for residents there.

“It is inevitable to develop rural areas … just like Sha Tin was turned from agricultural land into today’s new town,” said board member David Lui Yin-tat, who supported the plan.

Another member, Ivan Fu Chin-shing, had reservations. “It seems our colleagues consider that development is the fundamental priority … But in recent years many citizens don’t buy the old development model any more.”

The proposal was drawn up by the Planning Department, after it conducted a study of 785 hectares of land surrounding Kam Sheung Road Railway Station and the adjacent Pat Heung Maintenance Centre.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced in his policy address last year a plan to build 8,700 flats above the two railway properties. The study found 12 nearby sites for development.

Under the plan, the 14 sites with a total area of 152 hectares would be used to build about 33,700 flats, with public and private housing each accounting for half. Together they are expected to house a population of 92,800. The proposal also features a shopping centre, schools and other community facilities.

Except for the 33 hectares of railway sites, a majority of land under the plan is under private ownership. The government plans to take five of the private sites for public housing and allocate seven for private housing.

“The two railway sites can be built up the soonest, as the government only needs to discuss the arrangements with the MTR,” Yuen Long District Council chairman Leung Che-cheung said.

“But it may take five to seven years to resume the private sites and it could take ten years or so from the planning to the completion of the flats.”

About 100 villagers in the area, including some from the Ng Ka Tsuen village which falls within the private development area, yesterday staged a protest at the North Point Government Offices where the meeting was held. They said they had not been consulted before the government submitted the plan to the board.

Separately, the government yesterday gazetted a resumption order for 35 private agricultural lots near Po Tong Ha in Tuen Mun with a total area of about 2.8 hectares for public housing.
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Old May 27th, 2014, 04:13 PM   #131
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Village secure in planned new town for 80,000
21 May 2014
The Standard



A non-indigenous village in Yuen Long South will be preserved as the area is developed into a new town for 80,000 people.

The Development Bureau is about to launch another round of consultations on the plan, which includes the provision of 26,000 new flats and envisions population intake from 2025.

The non-indigenous village, Sha Tseng Tsuen, will be preserved, the bureau says.

A spokesman said the development involves around 210 hectares and will have a mix of high- to low-density housing.

It is expected that 60 percent of the area will be earmarked for public housing and the rest reserved for private development.

The development will provide around 20,000 job opportunities, the spokesman said.

Current residents of the area number around 2,000.

The government proposes to divide the site into five planning areas, including residential, employment and green zone.

The new development area is close to Tong Yan San Tsuen and Tai Tong, where 80 percent of the area is private land. The spokesman said the project may involve large-scale land reclamation.

He said the plan involves more than 100 buildings but does not involve indigenous residents.

However, the government has not estimated the number of affected residents, and will consider various ways to claim the land.

The spokesman said the development and compensation plan will be released in the next stage.

Leung Fuk-yuen, chairman of Shap Pat Heung Rural Committee, said he has a feeling that several villagers and organizations will object to being displaced.

Leung said he hopes the government will balance the interests of all parties and carry out a meaningful consultation.

``The government should listen to and respect villagers and the opinions of stakeholders in all districts,'' Leung said.

``Development is necessary. But there are many factories that involve job opportunities and workers. These people's voices should be respected.''
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Old June 11th, 2014, 05:46 PM   #132
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Chinese Shoppers Change Hong Kong Border Area
11 June 2014
The New York Times

HONG KONG -- Smoking a cigarette outside a mall in the border town of Sheung Shui, a man who gave his name only as Chen stands next to a wheeled cart filled with purchases. He is visiting from the Chinese city of Shantou, 177 miles away, a trip he makes several times a year.

''When I come to Hong Kong, it's mainly to buy medicine -- maybe some food products, too,'' said Mr. Chen, who declined to provide his full name because of a crackdown on illegal exporting. ''There are more brands available here, many of which you can't find back home. On the mainland, there is also a lot of counterfeiting.''

Shoppers like Mr. Chen are the new face of Chinese spending in northern Hong Kong, and their vast numbers are changing the landscape near the former British colony's border with the mainland. Retail space in these areas, collectively called the New Territories, and along the rail line running through them, is increasingly oriented toward mainland day-trippers and ''parallel traders'' from Guangdong, the southern Chinese province, who buy items for resale at a markup in China and avoid import taxes.

According to mainland customs data, more than 20,000 parallel traders cross the border daily, not including thousands of individuals doing personal shopping. Added to an acute housing shortage, this has led to more than $15 billion worth of planned construction, including millions of square feet of shopping and thousands of new apartments. But even as business booms, the influx pushes up retail rents and forces businesses aimed at local residents to move or close.

More than 6,000 farmers and villagers will be displaced by projects in the northeast New Territories, according to local media reports. Paul Chan Mo-po, the Hong Kong secretary for development, said compensation packages would be offered to eligible households. Subsidized housing has been set aside for those losing their homes, he added.

Many villagers and farmers affected by new construction are unhappy about the forced relocations. Lee Siu Wah, a fourth-generation resident of Kwu Tung, said converting farmland was ''unfair to villagers and not sustainable.''


Sheung Shui is the Hong Kong town closest to the border. From morning until night, mainland shoppers pump money into this little-known part of Hong Kong. ''The best-selling products here are milk powder, diapers and red wine,'' said Wong Laiping, holding a box of Franzia wine at her store in Sheung Shui, which also has a currency exchange counter. ''It's all headed over to Shenzhen.''

Adjacent to Sheung Shui's railway station, retailers at the busy Landmark North shopping mall, where tenants include Rolex, Tissot, The Body Shop and Estée Lauder, said that 75 to 90 percent of their customers were mainland Chinese.

David Ji, director and head of research and consultancy in greater China for Knight Frank, said average rents of retail space in the New Territories increased 29 percent last year, more than double Hong Kong's overall increase. There is still a significant gap between retail rents in the New Territories, at 134 Hong Kong dollars, or $17.29, per square foot per month, and the rate of 174 dollars on Hong Kong Island.

''Retail facilities in the New Territories, in particular those along the railway and near the border, are expected to remain in demand, with mainland visitors' shopping patterns moving from the high end of the market to midpriced products and daily necessities,'' Mr. Ji said.

Although a slowing economy and campaigns against extravagant consumption by government officials have hurt most luxury shopping hubs in Hong Kong, business has been booming in the New Territories. This is especially true along the East Rail Line, which links China with Hong Kong and runs through Sheung Shui and the towns of Fanling, Tai Po and Sha Tin, all of which offer walking access to large malls.

More than half of mainland visitors to Hong Kong in 2013 came from Guangdong, according to the market research firm Nielsen. Shenzhen is the primary gateway for visitors from Guangdong, which last year became the first Chinese province with a gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion, making it the world's 16th-largest economy, just after South Korea.

Large-scale mixed-use developments planned by the government for the New Territories will add more retail space and increase housing supply, especially government-subsidized housing. Last September, the Hong Kong government said one-seventh of its population was living below a poverty line of 3,600 Hong Kong dollars in monthly income for a single individual, or 14,300 dollars for a family of four.

One major initiative, the Northeast New Territories New Development Areas, involves building more than 60,000 apartments for about 175,000 people by 2022 and merging the towns of Sheung Shui and Fanling into a town of 500,000. It is projected to cost $15.5 billion.

Similar population clusters in the northwest New Territories at Yuen Long South and the proposed Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area are in the planning stages. So is a proposal to convert Tung Chung on Lantau Island into a new central business district, drawing upon its proximity to the city's international airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. The bridge, expected to be completed in 2016, will offer road access to the west side of the Pearl River Delta for the first time, opening a new conduit for mainland shoppers.


Mr. Ji of Knight Frank said the Hong Kong companies Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were the developers with the largest footprints in the New Territories.

Sun Hung Kai, which with a $34 billion market value is among Asia's largest developers, declined an interview but said in a statement that New Territories projects in the pipeline included the one-million-square-foot YOHO mall next to the Yuen Long train station.

According to a company report in April, it acquired a new site in the emerging shopping hub of Tuen Mun in February that it will develop into 26,000 square feet of retail space and 140,000 square feet of residential units. Last year, it opened V City, its flagship mall for the northwest New Territories, atop the rail station there.

Sun Hung Kai holds more than 27 million square feet of farmland, primarily along existing or planned rail lines in the New Territories, the report said. The company owns 13 shopping malls in the New Territories.

Henderson, which also declined an interview request, has 42.5 million square feet of undeveloped land in the New Territories, the most of any Hong Kong developer. The company holds 2.7 million square feet of land in the northeast new development areas alone, which could be sold to the government for $270 million to $410 million, according to a 2013 J. P. Morgan report.

Those high stakes led Mr. Lee, the fourth-generation resident, who is a manager at a local engineering company, to help organize a May 10 protest outside Hong Kong's legislature, where more than 100 villagers, farmers and their supporters asked the government to protect the agricultural land of the region. Much of the 2,500 or so acres of active farmland there supplies a growing demand for safe local produce, in the face of concerns about the safety of mainland food.

''We should further develop agriculture in Hong Kong,'' Mr. Lee said. ''The ones who benefit from these plans are developers and a few others, but not the average Hong Konger. Originally the government needed developers to help with projects; now developers control the government.''

Such sentiments are not uncommon in Hong Kong, where the biggest graft trial in the city's history is underway; the Sun Hung Kai co-chairmen and brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok are accused of bribing Hong Kong's former No. 2 official, Rafael Hui.

Declining to comment on the trial, Mr. Chan, the development secretary, said that planning for new projects was open and transparent.

''We place great emphasis on public engagement in carrying out different planning and development studies,'' he said.
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Old June 16th, 2014, 03:51 PM   #133
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'We won't back down'
The Standard
Monday, June 16, 2014









The government will not back down from its northeastern New Territories development plan which sparked the storming of the Legislative Council on Friday, development chief Paul Chan Mo-po insisted yesterday.

But concern groups have threatened further protests if the government does not withdraw the plan.

On Friday, police arrested 21 protesters and removed 190 others from the chaotic scene at the entrance to the Legislative Council. The Legco building was also damaged.

In a TV interview, Chan reiterated the government will not shelve the HK$120 billion project because it is essential to increase housing supply.

He stressed he had listened to public views but said it is impossible to develop the area without affecting some households.

Chan said Friday's protests left him "unhappy and worried" about Hong Kong and added: "When I looked at the chaotic scenes, I realized the protesters may not actually be residents from New Territories East."

He also accused some lawmakers of not trying to understand the government's development plan before opposing it.

He refuted claims that only a small portion of land would be used for housing, saying there will be 30,000 public flats.

Meanwhile, about 30 representatives from eight organizations and concern groups involved in Friday's protest held a press conference inside the Legislative Council to defend their action.

They were assisted by lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. They denied their actions were planned beforehand and warned they may protest again on Friday when the Finance Committee meeting resumes.

Two lawmakers' assistants who were taken in a police vehicle last Friday claimed they were beaten and threatened by police.

Cheung's assistant, Chow Chun-yu, said: "I was pulled by my hair and slapped on the face. I still have bruises. But when the police found I was a registered social worker, their attitude totally changed and they even treated me to soft drinks."

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung's assistant, Wong Wing-chi, claimed the arrested protesters were told not to reveal their injuries.

"They asked a protester if the wounds on his lips were due to dryness. They wanted him to answer 'yes' before releasing him," Wong claimed.

Protesters said the action was triggered by the decision of Finance Committee chairman Ng Leung-sing to abruptly end the meeting.

Kwu Tung North Development Concern Group chairman Lee Siu-wah claimed the bamboo sticks used to pry open the Legco doors on Friday had been there since another protest last year. He added: "If the action was planned beforehand, we would not have carried such light props to the scene."

A member of Fan Ling North Farming Villages and Residents Joint Conference burst into tears while asking supporters to take care and to "prepare for future actions."

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee, said she fears the planned Occupy Central protest could also turn violent.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung- kwok said police will not allow violent acts to continue, adding that officers will take decisive action when there is a dangerous situation.

In a rare move, state broadcaster CCTV reported Friday's storming of Legco, with comments from officials including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. There were also newspaper editorials about the clash.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 06:26 PM   #134
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Ambitious plans for construction in north Lantau bring out voices of dissent
27 June 2014
South China Morning Post



The first phase of Tung Chung new town opened in late 1997, but it was 13 years before basic facilities such as a public library and sports centre were built for residents. So you might think Lam Yin-ying would welcome plans to further develop the township, created to accommodate people working at Chek Lap Kok airport in north Lantau.

But that’s not the case. Lam, a packing worker who lives in Yat Tung Estate with her three children, fears the proposal will lead to rent increases that will drive out neighbourhood shops serving residents in favour of retailers targeting mainland visitors. “The Yat Tung mall is still made up of neighbourhood shops, but I am afraid it will become a centre for mainland shoppers like Fu Tung estate plaza.” We just want sustainable development which strikes a balance between conservation and economic growth.

The nearby plaza, connected by a footbridge to Tung Chung MTR station and Citygate Outlets, is now primarily a cluster of cosmetic shops and pharmacies selling milk powder, and its furniture store has been replaced by an expensive beauty parlour, Lam says.

“We seldom leave the township as transport is very expensive, so for leisure activities I bring my children to Tung Chung River. The river will be affected by reclamation. Where can they play in future?”

Lam is among many residents in north Lantau alarmed by the government’s ambitious proposal to turn the area into a regional transport and economic hub, scrapping a 2007 concept plan put forward under then financial secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.

The extension plan includes the construction of a 130-hectare island with malls and hotels east of Chek Lap Kok which would serve as the border checkpoint for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, as well as a third runway at the airport. Other key components include major reclamation work at Sunny Bay (to turn the site into “an entertainment and business node”); at Siu Ho Wan (up to 150 hectares); at Tung Chung east (120 hectares) and Tung Chung west (14 hectares).

The new development is expected to increase Tung Chung’s population from the current 90,000 to about 200,000.

A Development Bureau spokesman says it has long been the government’s aim to turn Tung Chung into a comprehensively planned new town, and its proposals would provide more job opportunities and additional land for public facilities.

“The proposed extension areas to the east and west of the existing Tung Chung new town help address residents’ calls for more community, transport and other infrastructure facilities,” he says.

Views expressed during two phases of public consultations have generally been in favour of further development, he adds.

The spokesman points to a study, completed in July 2013, which proposed enhanced facilities such as railway stations at Tung Chung east and west, and a commercial hub in the east with waterfront retail areas, a sports ground, hotels, malls and a marina. The additional developments would “benefit existing and new residents of Tung Chung new town alike”.

However, Brandon Cheung Chun-ming of the Tung Chung Community Development Alliance isn’t buying the idea, particularly as their survey of 240 residents showed that most objected to the plans.

“Only 30 per cent support it,” he says. “Tung Chung is a young town with lots of families with young children. There should be more part-time jobs for mothers. In future, there will only be full-time retail and hotel jobs. We are afraid that we will become the next Sheung Shui – a backyard of the mainland.”

The proposed extension has put paid to plans by Prajna Dhyana Temple to establish an organic farm and retreat for elderly Buddhists. Operators of the temple, located 10 minutes’ drive from Tung Chung MTR station, began preparations in 2012 but it all came to an abrupt halt last year.

“We set up a foundation to raise donations for expansion and were in talks with developers who owned surrounding land. But after [a phase II study] was revealed, developers refused to sell and donations stopped coming in,” says Abbot Sik Chuan-bo.

Responding to environmental concerns over reclamation at the Tung Chung estuary, the phase II study calls for construction of housing at a plot ratio of five in areas surrounding the temple.

“It means we will be surrounded by 30 to 40-storey blocks. Not only will our tranquility be affected, future residents will also be disturbed by our bell ringing at 4am and frequent chanting,” the abbot adds.

Eddie Tse Sai-kit, convenor of the Save Lantau Alliance, criticises the CY Leung administration for abandoning the concept plan released in 2007, and starting anew in January with the setting up of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee with 19 private sector appointees.

“Many committee members have real estate backgrounds, and can benefit from the development. The whole proposal now seems to serve mainland interests,” says Tse, a long-time Tai O resident.

Records show that 10 appointees either work for or hold shares in companies with business interests in Lantau. For example, relatives of Randy Yu Hon-kwan, a son-in-law of Heung Yee Kuk chief Lau Wong-fat, hold considerable assets on the island, including 29 plots of land in Tung Chung (see box).

Dismissing conflict of interest claims, the Development Bureau spokesman says the committee “is not invested with any decision-making power”. The panel is set up simply to give views on Lantau development, and members have agreed to a declaration of interest system that is “more stringent” than for similar advisory committees, he says.

But several members have seized the chance amid pressing housing shortages to call for building into country parks, and their supercilious attitude has only deepened public antipathy to expansion plans. Asked where Hongkongers could go to relieve the pressures of city life if the parks were developed, Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung, a director at Shui On Land, told a radio show that they were free to travel to the mainland.

Eric Kwok Ping, an indigenous Pui O resident and chairman of Eco-Environment Conservation and Education Association, sees the extension plan as blatant collusion between government and business.

“What if mainland visitors stop coming? All the projects will become white elephants.”

Such a concern is why Chan Tung-ngok, vice-chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Professionals, believes Hong Kong should move quickly to seize the opportunity that the Zhuhai-Macau bridge link presents.

“If there are insufficient facilities in Lantau to cater to tourists after they leave the airport, they will head for Macau, Zhuhai and Hengqin through the bridge,” he says, noting that new theme parks and hotels are opening soon in those cities.

Tung Chung residents’ worries about being swamped seem to be unfounded as visitors travelling along the bridge will first reach the artificial island’s commercial hub, which should also offer more job options.

But rather than focus the extensions at Tung Chung, Chan, a surveyor, argues a new town, that could accommodate 500,000 people, could be built at Sunny Bay where there are fewer ecological considerations.

In an ironic twist, the Kwok clan of Pak Mong is furious that officials have banned development in the area to avoid adverse impact to water quality and the area around Tai Ho River, which is now deemed a site of special scientific interest.

They share ownership of land at Pak Mong and sold about two thirds for HK$400 per square foot to Sun Hung Kai Properties in 1997, says clan elder Kwok Shue-yung, 75.

Prices have since risen to HK$880 per sq ft, but by freezing development around Tai Ho, the villagers say they are losing out and are demanding compensation. The villagers should have been consulted in the decision, Kwok says.

Pak Mong illustrates a paradox of development and conservation, association chairman Kwok says.

“People who own land in Lantau welcome speedy development as they can profit from it. All the hype over the Lantau extension has made indigenous villagers eager to sell their land. We don’t blindly object to development. We just want sustainable development which strikes a balance between conservation and economic growth.”
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Old August 25th, 2014, 07:36 PM   #135
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Tung Chung expansion to focus on the east
16 August 2014
South China Morning Post

The government has dropped a proposal to reclaim land west of Tung Chung in response to green groups’ calls, but instead now wants to vastly increase the building density in the east.

This was disclosed yesterday when a revised plan for expansion of the new town on Lantau Island was unveiled for public consultation.

“We hope the new plan will be better received by the public,” development minister Paul Chan Mo-po said.

Roy Ng Hei-man, of the Conservancy Association, called the proposal “a “lesser evil”, but said questions remained about air quality and protection of the Tung Chung River.

The latest blueprint proposes boosting the population of Tung Chung from 80,000 to 260,000; a new piece of land of 120 hectares will be reclaimed to the east of the town centre, as in the previous plan announced last year.

The idea of reclaiming 14 hectares to the west of the town centre has been abandoned after environmental groups voiced fears it would affect the ecology of Tung Chung Bay.

However, there will still be some low-density development on existing land in the area.

The new site in the east will be built up with high-density developments and a new population of 117,000, with plot ratios raised on both residential and commercial zones. In particular, the proposed floor area for commercial offices has been increased from 200,000 to 500,000 square metres – a rise of 150 per cent.

The reason for the increase was to attract companies to set up offices in order to create more jobs for the new town, the Development Bureau said.

“After hearing views from the previous round of consultation, we consider the commercial development needs to reach a certain scale to attract companies,” a spokeswoman said. “Business relating to airport services, such as logistics firms, may want to operate in Tung Chung.”

Green Power scientist Dr Cheng Luk-ki, said a higher density of development was preferable to reclamation given that there was convincing demand for the development. However, he warned that the plan to move a new population of 140,000 to Tung Chung could expose more people to health risks caused by the serious air pollution there.

The green group studied air quality data from many parts of Hong Kong and found Tung Chung had the longest number of days in a year when ozone levels exceeded official limits.

The latest government plan involves a 30-metre-long conservation area along Tung Chung River, but Cheng said having a protection zone cover only the river course was not ideal when homes would still be built near the river.

Lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen, who sits on the Lantau Development Advisory Committee, warned that the high-density development in the east would bring pressure on traffic and the environment there.

The new plan is to build a total of 48,000 flats: 62 per cent as public housing; the rest private. It will also provide space for shops with a total gross floor area of about 300,000 square metres and the development of hotels with a total of 1,000 rooms. The public may respond until October 31.
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Old August 31st, 2014, 09:57 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Tung Chung expansion to focus on the east
16 August 2014
South China Morning Post

The government has dropped a proposal to reclaim land west of Tung Chung in response to green groups’ calls, but instead now wants to vastly increase the building density in the east.
By 1202525 from dcfever :

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Old September 18th, 2014, 04:16 PM   #137
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Lantau has so much potential to become a multi-function hub
2 September 2014
South China Morning Post

A decision has still to be made on whether to build a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport, while the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is nearing completion.

These developments mean that more than ever, Lantau will become one of Hong Kong’s gateways to the world and to Guangdong province. We now need to look forward to the island’s development over the next decade. The runway project will offer outstanding business opportunities and more jobs to residents of Tung Chung, Kwai Chung, Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi. There will be further development and expansion of Tung Chung new town.

In this area of Lantau, we will see more shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and exhibition and convention centres, with more recreation and entertainment venues for tourists and locals.

These new developments, together with existing attractions such as the Big Buddha, Disneyland and the Ngong Ping cable car, will attract tens of millions of tourists every year. AsiaWorld-Expo will host even more trade fairs, conferences and exhibitions, and the increasing numbers of business people who attend them will bring additional revenue to hotels and resorts.

Lantau will become a multi-function hub and visitors who enjoy nature will join ecological tours on Lantau and nearby islands. Hong Kong families and their friends will still come to the island for recreation, such as cycling and hiking.

These outlying islands with their unique geological formations are part of the natural heritage of Hong Kong. There are also other important historical sites.

I have been a convenor of a series of youth exchanges with government officials. I believe that in the long run, in order to retain our competitive edge in the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong must play to its strengths, and also ensure sustainable development. Given its excellent location and already-established infrastructures, Lantau has the potential to grow.

Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong are inextricably linked. They will benefit each other and the delta region if they cooperate. That cooperation will be enhanced through Lantau’s development into a multi-function hub.

The Kai Tak and West Kowloon Cultural District projects have moved at a snail’s pace. This should not happen on Lantau. Once infrastructure schemes have been agreed on, they should be implemented without delay.

Chu Kar-kin, Tseung Kwan O
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:48 PM   #138
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It makes sense to redevelop Lantau Island
10 September 2014
South China Morning Post

It makes sense to redevelop Lantau Island

I agree with Chu Ka-kin’s letter (“Lantau has so much potential to become a multi-function hub”, September 2).

While Lantau already has some famous landmarks, such as the Big Buddha and Ngong Ping village, many tourists still think it is too remote and they stay in urban areas of Hong Kong. The government is right to want to redevelop some areas of Lantau to get more of these tourists to visit the island.

More shopping malls, hotels and restaurants should prove popular if they are built fairly close to the airport.

This can take the pressure of those urban areas like Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok that are struggling to cope with the crowds of tourists in what are already heavily congested parts of the city.

The government also has to promote the unique natural heritage of the island, such as its country parks, so that more people come from abroad to hike and have picnics there. This is offering them a different, greener, holiday experience.

Whatever redevelopment schemes are promoted, the administration must ensure that the country parks are preserved, given that they are important habitats for different species of animals and plants and trees. These sensitive eco-systems must be conserved.

If the right kind of redevelopment projects are chosen and the right balance is maintained between preserving the environment and infrastructure projects, this can help Hong Kong’s economy and make it more competitive.

Yumi Wong Sheung-yi, Tiu Keng Leng
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Old January 6th, 2015, 05:35 PM   #139
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Extra border billions given nod by panel
The Standard Excerpt
Tuesday, January 06, 2015



A planned border control point at Heung Yuen Wai in the eastern New Territories and Shenzhen's Liantang will now cost HK$35 billion to build.

It was estimated to cost less than HK$25 billion just a year ago, of which HK$16 billion has already been approved.

The Legislative Council development panel was told the project remains "cost-effective and necessary." It endorsed the additional funding request of HK$8.8 billion yesterday. With 13 votes for and nine objections, the request will now go to the Finance Committee for final approval.

Construction work will start in March if approved by the committee, with expected completion in 2018.
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Old June 18th, 2015, 06:31 PM   #140
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Five villages to go for new town
18 June 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt









Non-indigenous villagers will be compensated or rehoused if they are eligible, while storage facilities, car repair workshops will also go

Five non-indigenous villages in Hung Shui Kiu will have to go to make way for the development of a proposed new town in the northwest New Territories, the Development Bureau said yesterday.

This came as the government announced a final three-month consultation on the new town’s design. It is expected to house an additional 173,000 people in 60,100 new flats, half of which will be public housing.

A spokesman for the bureau said five out of 22 villages in the proposed development area could not be kept as they were located near the future Hung Shui Kiu MTR station. The other 17 that will be kept are all indigenous villages. He said he did not know how many villagers would have to go.

“We have tried to minimise the impact on existing villagers and avoided villages that are well established as far as possible,” he said. “If the [five villages] are to stay, it would affect the integrity of the new town.”

The spokesman said affected villagers living in around 1,500 buildings could, if they are eligible, choose to be compensated or rehoused in the new town as a site had been earmarked for that purpose with 1,800 flats. He also said when officials consulted villagers, not all of them were against the plan.

Yuen Long district councillor Tang Ka-leung said he had spoken to people living in the non-indigenous villages and they did not have strong views on the plan except to be rehoused locally and receive a reasonable compensation package.

“My concern is whether affected villagers will be compensated fairly. If not, there could be conflict like we saw in other developments,” he said.

Storage facilities for containers and construction material and car repair workshops will also go to optimise land use.

The bureau said preliminary studies suggested it was feasible to move these facilities into multi-storey industrial compounds. Officials will distribute questionnaires to seek operators’ views.

But despite allegations of collusion with developers over the provision of private flats in new developments in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North, the bureau said it was considering adopting the same approach in Hung Shui Kiu.
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