25 October 2016
Wong (inset) holds a photo, buried in the rubble, that was taken with his late wife. Photos: RTHK, Facebook
Wong (inset) holds a photo, buried in the rubble, that was taken with his late wife. Photos: RTHK, Facebook

How Kwu Tung villagers’ pain might become Henderson Land’s gain

Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. (00012.HK), one of the biggest landlords in the New Territories, could benefit from the misery of two families in Kwu Tung Village whose houses were flattened, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

A bulldozer suddenly showed up early Monday and leveled five tin houses where the families had lived for decades.

Official data shows most of the land the crushed houses were on belongs to Wise Treasure Development Corp., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands of which the shareholders have not been identified.

The villagers also occupied nearly 9,000 square feet of a plot nearby, saying they have applied to the courts for adverse possession of the property — in which an occupier of someone else’s land for a long enough period may be granted title to it.

That plot, around 200,000 sq ft in total, belongs to a subsidiary of Henderson Land.

The property developer applied earlier to the government for an in-situ land exchange — in which the government exchanges the original or expired lease of a piece of land with a new grant or re-grant with the same piece of land or a portion of it. 

In 2009, the firm applied to the court to expel villagers living on its land but was rejected, the report said.

While Henderson Land denied it had anything to do with Monday’s incident, the fact that the houses are now gone and their occupants have no choice but to move saves it a lot of trouble, as the firm can now go ahead with its development plans for the land.

A spokesman for Henderson Land confirmed that some of its land was occupied by the houses but stressed that the firm had no idea who gave the order to flatten them.

He said Tuesday the firm will file a report to police Wednesday regarding the incident.

One thing for sure is that the two affected families now have no place to live.

Grieving over many of their cherished belongings that had been damaged in the bulldozing, one of the homeowners, surnamed Wong, said he could not believe things like this actually happened in Hong Kong.

Wong said his family will not relocate but will seek to rebuild its houses on the same site.

Villagers come home to flattened houses (March 15, 2016) 

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