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Equal compensation urged for all villagers

Local | Sum Lok-kei Jan 11, 2018
Lawmakers from both camps urged the Development Bureau to review its compensation arrangement for villagers affected by development projects in the New Territories.

They warned that inequities in compensation might lead to conflicts between villagers and the government.

Heung Yee Kuk lawmaker Kenneth Lau Ip-keung said some villagers who were relocated due to development projects complained that they had not been rehoused after a "protracted period of time," or that the monetary compensation was "in no way sufficient" to purchase a flat.

Lau said those from Chuk Yuen Village were compensated better, in that a new village is being built for indigenous villagers, while non-indigenous villagers have been granted permission to build a two-story house on nearby farmland.

Other villagers, including those from Kwu Tung North and Fan Ling North, were not compensated at the same level.

Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun agreed that villagers might find it more acceptable if all those affected by development projects are relocated to two-story houses.

But he said this is not an efficient use of land, and will affect housing supply in the long run.

The government will stick to its plan of rehousing villagers in high-density, multistory buildings, he said.

Under the government's current arrangement, Wong said, those eligible for public rental housing will be allocated a flat "within an appropriate period of time." Others, however, might be eligible for monetary compensation.

Only villagers relocated due to development projects of "regional importance" will be given special compassionate arrangements, he said.

While he understands villagers want more generous arrangements, the development chief refused to say if the government will mull over the idea.

Council Front lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick expressed his displeasure over the fact that affected villagers are being compensated differently. He also frowned on the idea that more generous compensation only apply to those affected by newer development projects.

Chu, a member of Land Justice League, urged equal compensation.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said the compensation being given to villagers is "outdated" and inadequate.

Ho said the government should increase compensation across the board for all villagers.

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October 2018