Unknown temporary hawkers were selling fruits and vegetables in previously unoccupied shops at Tsing Yi’s Cheung Fat Market on Monday as original stall owners began a week-long strike against Link REIT, Ming Pao reported. Fearing rising rents, around 90 per cent of the market’s stall owners closed up shop on Monday in protest of the real estate company’s decision to outsource the market’s management operations.
On Monday afternoon, some of the striking stall owners went to the market and formed a human chain around the unknown hawkers to stop them from conducting business.
Cheung Fat Market Concern Group claimed on Facebook that a Link REIT staff member had said the unknown hawkers are “Link REIT tenants” and had refused to remove them from the premises. The group, however, said that they did not see any commercial registration documents, lease or permits from Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD).
“We are responsible for managing and leasing out premises. These premises were unoccupied. We have the right to lease out these premises,” Link REIT Director of Corporate Communications & External Relations Lo Bing-chung told RTHK.
Posted by 青年新政 – Youngspiration on Monday, 15 February 2016
He added that Link REIT, the real estate investment trust responsible for running the market, has done everything required of them to ensure that residents’ needs are served, including providing a shuttle bus for them to purchase goods elsewhere.
Lo said that he felt the criticism of the company was unreasonable. “They [stall owners] talked about the possibility of rising rents – we haven’t even begun discussing it with them.”
Tsing Yi Cheung Fat Market tenants’ association president Lee Kam-yuen told Stand News that since the notice from Link REIT about the change in management operations last month, the trust has not officially communicated with tenants: “If they are really willing to talk, then they shouldn’t do these petty moves.”
RTHK reported that around 50 tenants went to the Link REIT’s headquarters in Kwun Tong on Tuesday to protest.