About 20 villagers affected by a public housing project in Wang Chau in Yuen Long staged a protest at the government headquarters on Wednesday, calling the government a liar that “says one thing and does another”.
Leading the protest was newly elected legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who said suspicions remain about an under-the-table deal reached between the government and landowners on the project, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Chu said the government has been trying to “cover it up with PR tricks”.
Affected villagers denounced the lack of transparency in the planning and implementation of the project, noting that they had been hardly consulted before it was carried out.
The project, launched in 2012, saw only 4,000 public homes built, although the original proposal called for the construction of 17,000 units, prompting Chu to suspect that it was scaled down at the behest of some rural landlords who are allegedly backed by gangsters.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying insisted that the original plan to build 17,000 homes in the area remains on track.
He said building 4,000 flats is “easier to do” and will be followed by the construction of the remaining 13,000 units.
He denied any collusion between the government and the triads.
Chu asked the government to disclose all government reports regarding the project, but the Transport and Housing Bureau said it could only provide a 2012 feasibility study which proposes the construction of 17,000 units.
Chu vowed to get to the bottom of the decision-making process regarding the project.
He and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, another newly-elected lawmaker for the architecture functional constituency, were scheduled to meet with Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po and Secretary for Housing and Transport Anthony Cheung Bing-leung on Thursday to discuss the Wang Chau project and other government housing development issues.
Chu’s advocacy of rural villagers’ rights has helped him win more than 84,000 votes in the New Territories West — the most by any candidate — in the Sept. 4 Legislative Council election.
He and his family are now under police protection after he reported having received death threats.
For his part, Yiu said many questions about the project remains unanswered, adding that CY Leung and other government officials were issuing statements that contradict each other.
Meanwhile, Apple Daily reported that Stephen Chan Chi-wan, a talk-show host at Commercial Radio Hong Kong, said in his program on Wednesday he received a tip from an anonymous person who said a senior government official had promised a landlord in Wang Chau that his land would not be expropriated at least in the next five years.
Chan did not disclose the names of the people involved in the supposed deal.
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