If charming 13-house O Tau has an icon, it is the village tree. Today workers are hacking down lesser trees around it. The village tree is expected to be chopped down within a week.
Developers who have been hanging around the village taking photos of the site on several occasions were approached by a bak-wah (nosy) visitor who asked what they were planning. Two new houses, she was told. She asked if the tree that is the centrepiece of the village will have to go and was told, yes.
Doesn’t the law forbid the hacking down of mature trees more than 30 years of age without permission? If the developers have been granted the right to build their two new houses, the tree does not necessarily have to be killed. Pruning it on one side could be enough. Going by their features, the developers appear to be all members of one family.
O Tau is off Sai Sha Road in the valley to the left as you are driving up from the Tai Mong Tsai Rd roundabout.