Work to fence off the historic Red House in Tuen Mun has resumed.
Workers hired by the new mainland owner had fenced off half of the land that the house sits on at the end of last month. The work was stopped after a lawmaker stepped in. The remaining construction work started at around 9am on Saturday.
The house, which was given a temporary protective status in March by the government, is not allowed to be altered. But works on the area surrounding the house are allowed.
Locals believe the house is linked to modern China’s “founding father” Sun Yat-sen, who may have planned revolutions in the area during the early 20th century.
Residents at the house reported the works to the police and Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan, who has been following the case. The work continued as police did not intervene.
Wan said the way the new owner has handled the matter is “inappropriate and unfriendly.”
There are two households of more than a dozen people still residing at the house, including children, mothers and elderly people. The new owner had issued letters asking them to leave at short notice, but the residents have yet to find another place to stay.
“The owner is bullying the residents by building the fences and the gate without discussing with them, and without telling them whether it would be locked,” he said.
He added he hoped the police would handle the matter as it may lead to a case of false imprisonment if the area is locked.
The land on which the building sits was sold to a company owned by a mainland Chinese person for HK$5 million last November.
Some of the property’s exterior walls were demolished in February, but the works did not receive the required approval from the Building Department. The Antiquities Advisory Board originally did not list it as a proposed monument as it was unable to establish a direct relationship between the property and Sun’s revolutionary activities.
But it decided to grant it protective status in March, for a 12-month period, after it suffered further damage.
There are also ongoing disputes about rental and land rights, including a resident who is even applying for adverse possession.
Wan said he has been unable to reach the owner’s representatives and lawyers.