There are no major problems with outsourcing wet markets to contractors to lease out, Link REIT Chief Executive Officer George Hongchoy Kwok-lung said on Thursday.

George Hongchoy. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The real estate investment trust began evaluating their system of outsourcing market management to other companies in June after they faced widespread criticism for huge rent increases which forced out small businesses.

See also: Feature: Paranoia and fear in the fight to save Cheung Fat Market

Link REIT’s evaluation, however, maintained that refurbishment would bring more people to the wet markets and malls, especially younger consumers.

Link REIT refurbished markets and malls have long been subject to debate and were a campaign point for lawmaker-elect Eddie Chu. Hongchoy said “there were people who amplified this issue to their own benefit, and have now been elected to LegCo.”

Protest outside the Link REIT office. File photo: Au Nok-hin via Facebook.

“When the projects were completed, we hoped our markets would be filled with shops, so we would not necessarily make huge increases in rents,” Hongchoy said.

He said that he hoped more businesses would open shops in Link REIT venues once they had operated smoothly for two or three years, and thereby foster competition.

There were several protests at Link REIT managed venues and at the Link REIT office earlier this year, including one in Tung Chung where a bazaar was set up outside a Link REIT wet market, against the rent rises and outsourcing of Link REIT markets to contractors.


Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.