The remaining residents of the historic Red House in Tuen Mun, linked to modern China’s “founding father,” have moved out voluntarily in the presence of court bailiffs. A final eviction notice was posted on December 15 last year, as plans to restore the historic property move forward.
It was the third and final eviction notice demanding that residents – three households of 17 people – leave by Friday.
Households with elderly people and children will apply for court referral so that they can stay at a temporary shelter until they are transferred to interim government housing.
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. However, there was no solid evidence.
Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan said it may take up to six years for them to be transferred to public housing estate flats.
He said the remaining residents did not fit the requirements of the government’s compassionate rehousing scheme. Additionally, government help cannot be provided until evictions take place, leaving residents homeless: “I will monitor their needs for the next few months.”
Wan said the mechanism had to change: “This is too strict – it is certain that they will become homeless, [the government] should not have to wait until they sleep on streets.”
Residents have lived at the property for between five and – at least – ten years. Resident Mrs Chan said she will miss the house but she will try to figure out plans step-by-step.
The land on which the building sits was sold to a company owned by a mainland Chinese person for HK$5 million in November 2016.
The Antiquities and Monuments Office declared the Red House building a proposed monument in March last year, granting it protective status for one year, after repeated instances of destruction took place.
Wan said the owner had applied for the Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme for restoring the house: “The house will remain in the next ten years – maybe this is the end for the Red House incident for now.”
He said he felt the owner was not willing to communicate in the beginning, but they eventually began to realise the historic value. The owner cannot take any action now that the protective status has been granted, but can apply for government funds.
A monument commemorating Sun Yat-sen next to the Red House is the location for an annual flag raising ceremony for the Republic of China’s National Day on October 10. The new owner also owns part of the park where the monument sits.
Wan said he believed visitors would be continue to be allowed to visit the park as two-thirds of it is on government land.