Residents in Sai Kung’s Tai Long Wan confronted government officials in a standoff that lasted for six hours on Tuesday after the authorities attempted to demolish illegal squatter houses in a village.

Oriental Daily reported that the government was trying to remove illegal structures inside a village in Tai Long Wan. It added that the officials made the decision after villagers had repeatedly ignored government warnings to remove them.

sai wan village tai long sai wan
Government officials entering Sai Wan Village. Photo: Apple Daily.

However, Apple Daily also reported that villagers criticised the government for tearing down the buildings without notifying the villagers in advance. They were seen lining up in front of a squatter house to prevent workers from dismantling the structures.

Villagers also criticised the government for sending a large number of officials to a small village to remove the houses in a high-profile manner.

The demolition work were jointly held by the Lands Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Government officials present at Tai Long Sai Wan. Photo: Apple Daily.

The village head later agreed to let the government demolish one of the structures, according to Apple Daily. The officials later left the scene.

Tai Long Wan is a beach on the east coast of the Sai Kung peninsula. Described as having one of the best sceneries in the city, it is nicknamed “Hong Kong’s back garden.”

Photo: Tai Long Sai Wan. Photo: Hong Wrong.

In 2013, Tai Long Wan was designated by the government as a country park area, in response to repeated appeals from environmental groups to halt a private development project. Villagers opposed the plan, arguing that this could take away their land rights. They also criticised the government of not allowing them to build houses for their offspring, and for implementing the rule without offering compensation.

Citizens are banned from starting development projects or altering land uses inside country park areas without prior approval.

HKFP has reached out to the Lands Department for comment, but has not received a reply.

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).