24 October 2016
Yuen Chit-chi wants to revitalize Yuen's Mansion. Photo: HKEJ
Yuen Chit-chi wants to revitalize Yuen's Mansion. Photo: HKEJ

Govt mulls raising subsidy for historic buildings in Mui Wo

The third-generation owners of Yuen’s Mansion, a castle-style residential site on Lantau Island, hope the government will increase its subsidies for work to revitalize the abandoned buildings on it.

Yuen’s Mansion is made up of six granite buildings about 10 minutes’ walk from the Mui Wo Pier, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Although each qualified historical building is entitled to a government subsidy of up to HK$1 million under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme, it is estimated that it would require much more than that amount to restore Yuen’s Mansion, given its poor condition.

Albert Lam Kai-chung, deputy secretary of the Development Bureau, said at an Antiquities and Monuments Office meeting Thursday that the body is considering “significantly raising” the subsidy amount for the buildings in question, and a final decision will be made and announced toward the middle of this year.

Yuen Chit-chi, 65, the third-generation owner of the historic site, who has been living in the granite castle since he was born, said the buildings were constructed in the 1930s by his grandfather Yuen Wah-chiu, who was a Kuomintang military officer during the war against the Japanese.

The patriarch, his family and 80 fellow soldiers resided in Mui Wo after the war and started the construction of the granite buildings, which housed up to 100 people at one point.

Town planner Stanley Ng Wing-fai criticized the government for focusing only on esthetics when it comes to conservation of historical buildings and grading of monuments.

Ng said Yuen’s Mansion possesses high conservation value, as it is built around a river with an artillery fortress and fish ponds, a rarity in Hong King.

[Chinese version中文版]

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A cannon remains on the historic site. Photo: HKEJ

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