A commotion broke out on Sunday afternoon when Tung Chung residents set up a bazaar in a protest of the Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT).
Link REIT has been involved in controversies over market management outsourcing and carpark rents this year. Protests were held at Link’s headquarters in Kwun Tong in late April as well as in early May against rents and outsourcing. At one of the outsourced markets, stallholders at Cheung Fat Market were told to move out for renovation works in March after protesting against potential rent hikes in February.
Like Cheung Fat market, Yat Tung estate’s market – in Tung Chung – was outsourced to Uni-China (Market) Management Limited. Rents for stalls in were raised after renovation works, leading to price rises and forcing many stallholders to leave.
A representative from the Housing Authority surnamed Lai said that Sunday’s bazaar was causing obstruction, leading to quarrels between the residents, activists and staff. According to Ming Pao, police intervened and one officer said “residents unrelated to the matter should stop obstructing the Housing Authority.”
Activist Chu Hoi-dick, of the Land Justice League, asked that Lai speak with residents for ten minutes. Lai did not agree at first, but acquiesced after some commotion among residents.
Lai said that the Housing Authority had the responsibility to ensure that there were no unlicensed vendors and did not accept illegal behaviour. According to Ming Pao, one resident asked “what reason do you have to think it’s obstruction?”
Lai said that he needed to ensure the road was kept clear.