Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that land reclamation beyond Victoria Harbour is unavoidable in the long run. She also said on Thursday that the government can review policies on limiting non-locals from buying properties if necessary.

The government’s Task Force on Land Supply has been conducting a months-long consultation on the issue of finding land for future use. Land reclamation is one of the dozens of potential choices.

Lam was asked by agriculture and fisheries sector lawmaker Steven Ho at a regular Q&A at the legislature how to reduce the effect of land reclamation on those who work on the sea.

Carrie Lam. Photo: Screenshot.

Lam said that every option with land development attract opposition from certain sectors, and society needs to have a reasonable discussion to reach a wide-ranging consensus.

“In the long run, land reclamation outside Victoria Harbour – as I said before and I will repeat today – seems to be unavoidable,” she said.

“Because we are talking about the long term, not the next five or ten years. In the long term, many developing cities have to adopt this choice, like Singapore.”

Proposals for reclamation outside Victoria Harbour. Photo: GovHK.

Property purchasing policies

Lam also answered questions from several other lawmakers on housing issues.

Lawmaker Gary Fan said the government allows 150 immigrants from mainland China to settle in Hong Kong each day, but land is limited: “Who will pity Hong Kong people?”

But Lam said the housing issue was unrelated to population policies.

Housing estates in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

She said, if necessary, the government can review policies on limiting non-locals from buying properties. Lam added that if the “spicy measures” – often used to describe additional stamp duties introduced to control the property market – were no longer useful, the government may consider other methods.

Asked by lawmaker Jeremy Tam if she would put a stop to the Small House Policy – which offers indigenous male villagers the right to build a village-style house once in a lifetime – Lam said there was an ongoing legal challenge and it was not appropriate for her to comment.

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.