Two houses in one: Construction between O Tau and Long Keng
Property development now underway between O Tau and Long Keng is so large the whole green belt valley may be covered with housing within 10 years, resident Jonathan Zeal said.
Plans activists have acquired clearly show about 60 houses valued at approximately $1.5 billion with profits for investors of more than $900 million.
“We are aware how massive it is and have shared information with the authorities,” Jonathan said, “but they have not taken it seriously so far.” As Chairman of the Long Keng Valley Concern Group for a decade, Jonathan has been fighting this scheme with all of his fellow villagers, including some families who have lived there for almost a century. Now they have a green wetlands view where boar, deer, cows, birds and butterflies are seen.
The development comprises three phases, according to plans activists have seen.The first phase is well underway: a big site taking up the whole former wetlands area between O Tau and Long Keng has been cleared. The first three houses have been constructed with up to seven more on the way. The second phase would destroy the Long Keng floodplain described in the Government’s Outline Zoning Plan as “not suitable for dwelling purpose”. A third phase is further west near Long Keng New Village. An application had been made to the TPB by a developer to trash the woodlands for “an organic farm”. Jonathan said it is likely that the developers are connected and that they will try to bulldoze a road from Long Keng New Village through to the huge development as they have done before only to be blocked by residents, activists and the police.
Five Hong Kong companies with British Virgin Islands registered shareholders are behind the project. “It is no secret that those involved in this have a lot at stake and they will see it through at all costs, including attempts at intimidation.”