A public campsite in Sai Kung West Country Park is suspected of having been occupied by some people for nearly a year, and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), which is in charge of it, is being criticized for not doing its job.
In a video clip uploaded recently to a Facebook page called The Hiking Supplements, about 17 to 20 tents were seen in a corner of the Wan Tsai West Campsite on the west side of the park, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The tents look old with a lot of stuff around them, leading the person who posted the clip to suspect that they have been there for quite some time and some of them may have been set up for rental.
It is speculated that the tents are the same ones that were found at the other campsite in the park, Wan Tsai South Campsite, two years ago.
It is believed that the tents have been relocated to the current site after the AFCD closed the Wan Tsai SouthCampsite from November to December last year to conduct maintenance work.
Some netizens denounced the long-term occupants of the campsite for not giving other people the chance to use the facility and for creating a large amount of garbage.
However, there seems no way to stop them. The Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations do not stipulate how long campers are allowed to stay in a public campsite as long as their tents are set up in the designated areas.
The AFCD said it regularly sends staff to patrol country parks, including the campsites.
It admitted that some long-existing tents have been noticed at the Wan Tsai West Campsite since November.
But the department said there is still enough space for other campers at the site, adding that owners of those tents have not been found to be renting out their units or violating any rules.
Hahn Chu Hon-keung, director of environmental advocacy at The Green Earth, said the AFCD had once tried to tackle the problem of long-term occupation at the campsite but failed to persist with its efforts, leaving it still unresolved.
Dr. Man Chi-sum, a member of the Country and Marine Parks Board, does not think current regulations have any loopholes. But he said he will ask the board to look for ways to deal with the issue during its next meeting.
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