An illegal waste dump near a Tin Shui Wai estate has been flattened and is apparently being turned into a golf driving range.

The area near Kingswood Villas, which was previously a 10-metre tall dump site, was discovered in March last year. It sits on land owned by the government and Li’s Development and Consultant (Hong Kong) Limited, which rented and operate the site. The company was fined HK$80,000 and HK$145,000 on separate occasions last year for illegally occupying government land and removing soil and grass.

During one of the court cases in August last year, a representative of the company claimed that the reason grass was removed and soil dumped was to make it more convenient to rent the land from the government later on.

Lee Yuet-man, a district councillor for the area, recently discovered that the waste dump was flattened and new turf was placed on top. Apparent golf training apparatus were set up.

He told Apple Daily that he heard from rural leaders that the intention was to turn the site into a golf driving range.

Lee said he has met with officials from the Lands Department and the Planning Department last week but they have not received any application for changing land use.

The waste dump in March 2016. File

He questioned whether the situation would be a de facto legitimisation of illegal waste dumping if the government approves a request to turn it into a golf driving range.

“Tens of thousands of truckloads of soil were dumped here. If the government thinks it does not need to prosecute after conducting soil consolidation and adding basic facilities, this will give a very bad message to people who make illegal waste dumps: you only have to do little remedial work after earning tens of millions,” he said.

The newspaper asked Tang Tat-sin, vice-chairman of the Ping Shan Rural Committee and the owner of part of the land, if he intended to turn the waste dump into a golf driving range.

He hung up the phone after telling the reporter “I don’t know, I don’t know, I have no comment, that’s all.”

Kris Cheng

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.