The Legislative Council’s Public Works Subcommittee approved on Wednesday a HK$12.4 billion funding request from the government for a block of around 9,600 public work projects.

Pro-democracy lawmakers previously tried to delay the vote, as they wanted to remove several controversial projects such as the Wan Chau development plan and Lam Tsuen Wishing Square from the block allocation.

A brownfield site in Wang Chau. It is not included in the government’s development plan despite public opposition. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Pro-democracy lawmakers Eddie Chu and Nathan Law tabled more than 100 motions without notice in the hope of blocking the request, but engineer sector lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok – who chaired Wednesday’s session – asked Chu to “pick ten motions” to discuss.

In protest, Chu, Law and lawmaker Claudia Mo went up to Lo to confront him, but they were stopped by security. Amid the chaos, Lo ordered a vote and the subcommittee passed the proposal in a 18:1 vote.

It will recommend the request to the legislature’s Finance Committee, which has the final say on the matter.

Chu slammed Lo’s “ridiculous” vote arrangement, and vowed to continue fighting against funding for the controversial projects.

Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who was present at a protest in Wang Chau. Photo: InMediaHK.

But Beijing-backed newspaper People’s Daily claimed that the delay in approving the funding request had caused “immense damage” to Hong Kong society and its international reputation.

It said the pro-democracy camp “objected to the proposal for the sake of objecting to it.”

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said last week that the funding would bring great benefits to society in terms of public services and traffic safety.

He added that the livelihoods of construction workers would be affected if the legislature continued to refuse passing the proposal.

Ellie Ng

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