Devastation at ancient village so large government stadium would fit inside

Devastation at Wong Chuk Yeung, possibly Sai Kung’s most splendid ancient village, is “the worst I have seen in all my years with Friends of Sai Kung.” This was the summation of Guy Shirra, former FSK Chairman and Operations Officer, as he surveyed what looks like a war zone with his dog, Dougal.

The area on the plateau below the village wrecked by mechanical diggers is so large the Government Stadium could fit inside. “It’s sheer bloody mindedness,” his companion said (not Dougal). Hundreds of trees have been torn down, logs burned and wetlands churned up.

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Government Lands Executive Johnny Szeto and Guy Shirra of Friends of Sai Kung study the wrecked area

The day of Guy’s visit happened to be the same day the South China Morning Post published an excellent article by Ernest Kao on Wong Chuk Yeung. Two cars with AM number plates were already there when Guy and Dougal showed up. One from the Environmental Department and one from the Lands Department. They were jerked into action by the publicity.

Land Executive Johnny Szeto told Guy and his companion the area cleared by the developer was 90 per cent private land.  As it is zoned for agricultural use it’s acceptable to the Government. Signs on the road say “Wong Chuk Yeung Organic Farm — No Trespassing.” However, Johnny said around 10 per cent of the devastated land was zoned for conservation use.  This was naughty. Some trees on this land had been illegally destroyed.  Prosecution would be up to the AFCD.

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Government Lands Executive Johnny Szeto (foremost) and colleagues check out the devastated area. With the Environmental Department, they turned up the same day of the South China Morning Post’s story on Wong Chuk Yeung. There’s a lesson for activists: Generate publicity

village3Guy said the situation was comparable to Sha Lo Tung where events have not worked out to the developer’s liking. There the hopeful property builder had done the same sort of thing, encroaching on conservation land.  The Town Planning Board took such a dim view of this that the developer’s plans have been squashed. Guy said the same scenario may play out at Wong Chuk Yeung. Another factor is the poor one-lane road access. “The police will object.”

According to Ernest in the SCMP, the developer trying his luck at Wong Chuk Yeung is Chan Kwong-shing. He heads land-owning companies Diamonds Sun, Tonway Investment and J&W Development.

 

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