The MTR Corporation spent HK$3 million preserving two huge banyan trees that would have been destroyed during construction of the Shatin-Central rail link.

The two Chinese banyans, which each weigh the equivalent of around 22 double-decker buses, were transported up to 100 metres in the operation at Diamond Hill Station.

They trees, which stand at 13 metres, according to Ming Pao, each had 10 percent of their branches trimmed in order to prevent infection, while two cranes were used in tandem to transport one of the trees.

Diamond Hill MTR station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The MTR Corporation had sought advice from tree experts, who indicated that the two banyans were worth saving.

The trees were moved in December 2013 and August 2014, however the MTR has only just revealed the cost and scale of the operation.

Chinese Banyan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

So Kwok-yin of the Conservancy Association said that it would be ideal for trees to be preserved in their original state and that it would be up to two years before experts could tell whether the trees would survive.

The construction site of the expanded Diamond Hill station is situated in the former Tai Hom Village, a squatter village demolished in 2001. Around 120 trees will be preserved, with 22 transplanted and 340 removed, according to an evaluation report by the MTR Corporation.

Paul Benedict Lee

Paul Benedict Lee is an undergraduate law student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Paul has previously contributed to HK Magazine and Radio Television Hong Kong, covering issues ranging from local heritage conservation to arts features. He has also worked as a legal intern at local human rights firm Daly & Associates.