Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has criticised the government for arranging a long-awaited trip to inspect the controversial Wang Chau housing development site in Yuen Long, since lawmakers will only be able to view the site from the top of a nearby high-rise.

Chu said the trip was several months late – after the topic inspired heated debate in September last year.

Map outlining the brownfield site and greenbelt zone. Photo: HKFP.

The government chose not to develop a brownfield site – consisting of polluted farmland – into public housing. The site had been turned into an outdoor storage operated by a powerful rural leader. Instead, it decided that hundreds of villagers on greenbelt land nearby must leave to make room for the housing project.

Laughable itinerary 

Chu wrote on social media that he was prepared to see protesters from the outdoor storage site, but he received an itinerary that made him “not sure if I should laugh or cry.”

The lawmakers would see the current conditions of the sites from the rooftop of Kam Ping House, Long Ping Estate and receive a briefing on the plan by government representatives.

But they would not go to Wang Chau to meet residents of the three villages facing eviction, or rural leader Tsang Shu-wo who operates the storage.

Location of Kam Ping House and Wang Chau. Photo: Google Maps.

See also: In Pictures: At the centre of a political storm, Wang Chau villagers face eviction but hope for justice

“How fearful of the people our officials are, that they thought of this ‘off the ground’ itinerary?” Chu wrote.

“Maybe they truly think the three Wang Chau villages represent the land they must take, and the Wang Chau villagers are the enemies of the government, rather than victims of urban development which they should respect and empower.”

Chu said on a Commercial Radio programme on Friday that he will try to make officials get down on the ground and meet villagers awaiting them.

The open storage facility in Wang Chau. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Officials from four department will attend, including the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Home Affairs Department, the Housing Department and the Lands Department.

The highest ranking officials attending include a housing project chief engineer, a senior liaison officer (rural), a chief civil engineer, and the Yuen Long district lands officer.

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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.