Chief Executive Carrie Lam has urged the public to be realistic about Hong Kong’s housing problems, and said that banning mainland Chinese people from coming to the city was not a solution.

At a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Council on Wednesday morning, Lam said that the housing issue was a focus of the administration. However, she said that she was aware that she has yet to live up to the public’s expectations.

Carrie Lam. File photo: LegCo.

Lam said that, with the work of the Development Bureau’s Task Force on Land Supply, she hopes Hongkongers will discuss the issues objectively and in a practical manner.

Lam added that the problem of the housing shortage was very evident. “Sometimes I hear those who are against opening up more land say that Hong Kong has a lot of land, 2.7 million residential flats and 2.5 million families – [only to conclude] there’s enough housing.”

“Or [they’ll say] that as long as we don’t give mainland people the 150-a-day quota to come here, Hong Kong won’t have any housing or land problems.”

Mainland authorities can grant a maximum of 150 Permits for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macau – known as One-way Permits – to prospective immigrants each day.

“This is completely unrealistic and misleading the public,” she added.

File photo: Wikicommons.

Last year, environmental groups hit out at Task Force on Land Supply Chairman Stanley Wong for making “extremely inappropriate” comments which they say downplayed the environmental impact of reclamation. Wong said that reclamation would have “no impact on the environment that cannot be overcome,” and that it was the most cost-effective way to provide large plots of land.

In March, The Liber Research Community said that the government and task force had failed to consider developing swathes of brownfield sites – of which there are 1,172 hectares in the New Territories. The group said they could be used to construct around 84,000 rural-type public housing projects.

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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.