Villagers have claimed that the construction of the Express Rail Link (XRL) has caused structural problems on their land, including soil erosion, cracks in walls and the hollowing out of the village grounds, Apple Daily reported.

Mr Lee, whose family has lived in Yuen Long’s Ngau Tam Mei Village for three generations, found cracks in the walls of his house. He said that soil erosion has caused the ground to hollow out, and holes as deep as three feet have emerged.

Mr Lee showing how the ground is hollowed out. Photo: Hui Chung-ming/Apple Daily.

“The ground was originally solid but became hollow out of the blue. Aside from XRL construction, there can be no other reasons,” Mr Lee told Apple Daily.

Another villager, Mr Tsui, also alleged that his house was affected by the XRL construction. He told Apple Daily that the retaining wall built several decades ago had been fine until construction commenced.

“Every family said that problems started to appear in their houses. My wall is starting to crack, and the cracks are deepening,” said Mr Tsui.

Mr Tsui pointing out the cracks on his retaining wall. Photo: Hui Chung-ming/Apple Daily.

He said that he complained to MTR Corporation, who is responsible for the construction. He said that their staff members installed a monitoring device on the wall, which showed that the retaining wall was leaning outwards, but MTRC did not take responsibility.

The MTRC had received 147 complaints about its activity around Ngau Tam Mei by the end of last month, 28 of which were confirmed to be related to the XRL construction, reported Apple Daily. The company said that they were now following up with affected persons, but emphasised that there were no structural or safety problems.

MTRC remains embroiled in controversy as the XRL construction has been plagued by budget overruns and repeated delays, to many lawmakers’ discontent.

Hermina Wong

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.