A village representative has received a phone call telling him to stop opposing the controversial Yuen Long development plan.

Chan Oi-kam, a representative of Wing Ning Tsuen village, said on Tuesday that he received a phone call this month. According to Chan, the unidentified caller told him: “stay out of the business, or you will be in trouble too.”

He said he was not sure if it was a threat or well-meaning advice, but that he decided to report the incident to the police.

Chan Oi-kam. Photo: RTHK.
Chan Oi-kam. Photo: RTHK.

Wing Ning Tsuen is one of three villages to be torn down to make way for the development plan. The three villages are inhabited by non-indigenous residents, who have no constitutional rights to the land.

Chan said the police are following up on the incident.

Chan added that the police specifically asked if he was an acquaintance of lawmaker-elect Eddie Chu Hoi-dick. The outspoken lawmaker-elect is under police protection after receiving death threats for challenging rural kingpins. Chu has also helped villages affected by the Yuen Long plan to organise protests.

Chan said he has never met the lawmaker-elect or participated in any events organised by Chu. He added that some villagers might have approached Chu, causing some to believe that Chan asked the lawmaker-elect to “enter the village to cause trouble.”

Eddie Chu
Eddie Chu. File Photo: HKFP/Stanley Leung.

Despite the phone call, Chan said that he will not cancel an upcoming protest against the establishment of a driving school inside the village.

He told local newspaper AM730 that he feels a sense of obligation to protect the village. Wing Ning Tsuen, he added, is home to many elderly people, some over 100 years old. His goal is to stop the village from being developed.

See also: CY shifts focus to Financial Sec. John Tsang as he denies gov’t struck deals over Yuen Long housing plan

Yuen Long development plan

The Yuen Long development plan stirred controversy after news reports revealed that the government met with rural leaders and subsequently downsized the Yuen Long housing plan. The decision raised questions about whether the government struck deals with rural leaders during the closed-door meetings.

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung told HKFP that recent events such as threats to Chu all add up to suggest possible collusion between the government, rural factions, business and triads. “Hong Kong governance has deteriorated a lot,” the lawmaker said.

Cheung said the Wang Chau project must be halted. “LegCo should set up a select committee to investigate [the matter] using the powers granted by the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance,” he said.

Wang Chau
A banner in one of the Wang Chau villages to be evicted that says the villagers were never consulted. File Photo: HKFP/Stanley Leung.

But Cheung said it will depend on whether the pro-establishment camp will cooperate, as the pro-democracy camp does not have enough votes to ensure members’ bills will be passed by a simple majority in the functional constituency. “If they don’t [cooperate], they will have to answer to the public why they are choosing to stand against the people.”

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Monday that Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor are responsible for two committees leading the development plan.

Leung’s remarks have led to speculations that he intended to shift the blame to the two high-level officials. John Tsang has said he is “willing” to be chief executive if the position allows him to contribute to Hong Kong.

The three villages to be developed are Wing Ning Tsuen, Fung Chi Tsuen, and Yeung Uk San Tsuen.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.