The Lands Department has announced a list of sites that are available to NGOs and community bodies for short-term use.

The list, uploaded to the government’s GeoInfo Map on Tuesday, contains 869 sites including vacant school premises. The size of the sites range from 79,500 square metres in Ma Wan to seven square metres in Kwai Chung.

The government’s GeoInfo Map.

The sites are managed by the Lands Department and “may be granted directly to an applying NGO subject to the applicant securing policy support from the relevant policy bureaux.”

Applicants would be charged a nominal rent if policy support is given by the relevant government bureau, otherwise the full market rent would be charged. NGOs are advised to contact the District Lands Office for updated information.

Transparency calls

Liber Research Community’s Chan Kim-ching told HKFP that – if the government only makes public the information, but fails to open up applications to regular members of the public – the land will remain vacant.

Chan Kim-ching. File photo: Stand News.

Chan is part of the team at Liber Research Community which earlier urged the government to make the data on short-term tenancies involving public land more transparent.

A study released in September found that the Hong Kong government currently has 5,300 active short-term tenancies involving 800 hectares of government land. Of which, around a third are effectively leased out as “private gardens for the rich,” they claimed.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.