The Secretary for Development has denied the government has been withholding information from the consultation on Lantau Development, in response to criticism from environmental protection groups.

In a visit to the Development Bureau last week, Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang was shown a model of the Lantau development plan which was not part of a recent public consultation. The model showed clear reclamation areas around the outlying islands of Hei Ling Chau and Kau Yi Chau, with apparent buildings, roads and railways connecting the islands to Lantau and Hong Kong Island.

But in the same blog post explaining the model, he produced a map which the groups complained had also not appeared before.

Zhang Dejiang
Zhang Dejiang at the Development Bureau. Photo: GovHK.

In a weekly blog post, Paul Chan Mo-po said the suggestions in the model were all publicly listed in the consultation, including the location and scale of the East Lantau Metropolis development plan for the islands.

“There has never been any concealing,” Chan said.

Lantau development consultation
Lantau development consultation. Photo: Gov HK.

Chan added the model was only used to explain the concepts of Lantau development, and was not a final proposal, so the public should not be concerned.

Chan said the bureau was analysing the opinions received from the public consultation, and expected a blueprint of the development to be revealed by the end of the year.

However, groups were not satisfied with Chan’s answer.

Lantau Development
Development Bureau photo on Lantau Development in a blog post by Paul Chan. Photo: GovHK.

“A picture appeared in the blog post which showed clear reclamation areas, it was completely different from the picture in the consultation that roughly indicated the location of artificial islands,” the Save Lantau Alliance wrote.

“Our members have checked many documents on Lantau development, and could not find the picture shown in the blog post,” it added.

Members of the alliance had urged the government to restart the consultation as it was missing information that only surfaced after the public engagement exercise.

Meanwhile, Paul Chan also wrote in the blog post that the government has been working in different ways to ensure land supply until 2030.

Chan said that Zhang Dejiang was also concerned about the tiny living space of Hong Kong people, and that the government will soon conduct a consultation on development after 2030.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.