Government representatives adopted a hands-off stance over recent violent incidents involving masked men and unlicensed street hawkers at a public housing estate in Tuen Mun.
Several government departments sent representatives to a meeting called by the Tuen Mun District Council on Monday night to discuss hawker management at the Leung King Estate, but none of them appeared to be willing to take responsibility and act on the issue, Apple Daily reported.
During the Lunar New Year holidays, masked men, who claimed to be members of the “management team” at the housing estate, had been harassing unlicensed street hawkers near the estate and forbidding them from doing business in the area. The men even attacked residents and reporters.
However, during the meeting called by the district council’s commerce, industry and housing committee, the government representatives said the issue was outside their jurisdictions.
Police and the Link REIT, which manages the commercial spaces in the housing estate, didn’t even send representatives to the meeting.
Among those present were representatives of the Housing Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and Fire Services Department.
District council member Catherine Wong Lai-sheung, representing the San King constituency, said the police apparently did not want to get involved in the clashes between the so-called “management team” and the street hawkers.
Wong expressed fears that similar clashes might happen again in the future.
During the meeting, Celia Chau Fung-ching, housing manager of the Housing Department, said Leung King Estate is a public housing estate under the Tenants Purchase Scheme.
Since the estate has its own owners’ corporation, the management responsibility should belong to the corporation and the estate property management agency, Chau said.
Senior health inspector Peter Leung Man-Nin, representing the FEHD, said the Housing Department should bear responsibility as well.
He said the Housing Department is also the owner of public housing estate and should help the management company to handle the hawkers issue.
The FEHD, on the other hand, is only responsible for handling hawkers in public areas.
Links REIT, in a statement, said the area should be managed by the estate’s corporation and management agency.
Ho Hang-mui, a district council member representing the Prime View constituency, said she was disappointed with the replies of the government representatives.
“It was just like the issue is really none of their business,” Ho said.
Au Chi-yuen, another district council member from the Tuen Mun Town Centre, said the Housing Department, being the owner of the housing estate, should direct the owners’ corporation and the property management agency on how to handle the issue.
Masked men attack hawkers, residents at Tuen Mun housing estate (Feb. 11)
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