Thomas Sit, long regarded as a foe by animal welfare activists, has now outraged environmentalists too. Sit Hon-chung, an assistant director of AFCD and allegedly a conservation official, has applied with his family to build five houses at Ham Tin beach, Tai Long Wan.
In a letter to the Town Planning Board, Dr Sit says his family left the village, isolated and without road access, more than 40 years ago. “I always want to go back and live there,” he wrote. “I don’t want to see it become a ghost village.”
Nicola Newbery, an environmental activist, asked, “How does the assistant director plan to commute every day from Ham Tin to Cheung Sha Wan (AFCD headquarters)? Is he really going to live in this house? Or are they property speculators?”
Sit is not popular with some animal welfare activists. Directors of AFCD come and go, but Sit seems to them to have been there far too long. Trap-neuter-release, the desexing programme that many dog carers believe could do much to solve our surplus companion animal problems, always stops at Sit’s desk, never to be enacted.
In his application to the planning board, Sit said the family’s request complied with the New Territories Small House Policy.
Their ancestors had lived for five generations at Ham Tin, farming and fishing. The documents filed and posted for public consultation showed five houses close together with septic tanks 100 metres from what many believe to be Hong Kong’s most beautiful beach.
Opponents have pointed out that the location is close to an archaeological area dating back 2500 to 4000 years. It is also said to be a site of scientific interest because of endangered plant species.