An injunction allowing Henderson Land Development Company Limited to take action to repossess a 5,500 square foot parcel of land in Fanling was approved by the High Court on Monday. The land, part of the Mapopo Community Farm in Ma Shi Po, Fanling, has been occupied by villagers and activists since the end of April, when Henderson’s first attempt to repossess the farmland failed.

Villagers and protesters took over an excavator on April 26 and the two parties have remained in a stand-off until Henderson announced further action on Monday morning.

Protesters having a meeting while occupying excavator. File photo: Chantal Yuen, HKFP.

Henderson said in a press release that “[Mr Au Lau Kan and his associates] had been in unlawful occupation of the land for nine years” and that Henderson had “exercised great forbearance and allowed more than sufficient time for them to leave peacefully.”

Au is a previous tenant of the land and his rental contract was terminated in 2007. Henderson said that Au and his associates “continued rallying the public to join in their unlawful occupation,” and that “having exhausted all other viable means to resolve the matter and as a measure of last resort, the Company will apply for an injunction later today.”

Villagers and protesters setting up tents at Mapopo community farm.

Protesters and villagers who remain on the land, however, are not focusing on the law.

“If they can eat up the first part of Ma Shi Po village today, they can go on to our entire village. And soon the whole New Territories. And this is wrong,” said Cho Kaikai, of the Mapopo Community Farm, told HKFP.

“Farmland should be protected by law and policy, and be ensured its active agricultural purposes. But what the government doing is exactly the opposite. They set policies like NENT [North East New Territories] New Town project encouraging land developers like Henderson to hoard farmland and evict farmers, which they have been doing this for 20 years and together hoarding over 1,000 hectares of farmland over the New Territories,” said Cho.

Henderson did not respond to enquiries before the time of publishing.

Chantal Yuen

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.