An inauguration event for a new rural political party was cancelled on Saturday as Hau Chi-keung, one of its founders, revealed that the party has yet to receive official company registration documents.

Hau, chairman of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee, was speaking on an RTHK radio show about the failure to register a company in time. He denied that the party was facing suppression and said that Hong Kong was free. However, he later told Apple Daily that “the pressure I’m talking about comes from all directions.” It is unclear what pressure Hau was referring to.

When asked if he sought to found the party before September’s Legislative Council Elections, he said that – if he gets the necessary registrations get approved – he will decide on the matter later.

Hau Chi-keung with Lam Wai-keung
Hau Chi-keung with Lam Wai-keung.

Jailed villagers

A split also emerged among the radio show guests over the small house policy. Several villagers have been jailed over the last few months as they were found to have illegally transferred their land rights to developers.

Hau said he believed that it was unfair to tell villagers to tolerate the problem and that the jailed villagers should be helped. Lam Wai-keung, Vice Chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, said that the problem needed more time to be solved. Junius Ho, spokesman for the New Territories Concern Group, said that transferring land rights is legal and that the villagers contributed selflessly to Hong Kong’s development.

See More: Explainer: Hong Kong’s divisive Small House Policy

Under the Small House Policy, male indigenous villagers who are descendants of a male line from a recognised village in the New Territories may apply for building a small house on their own land at zero premium, or on public land through a private treaty grant, once during their lifetime. This right is non-transferable.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.