Gangsters threw red paint over an O Tau house yesterday and smashed two windows. It is the home of an Englishman, his wife, two boys not yet in their teens and a Philippine helper. Returning from Sai Kung to find the bloody-looking mess, the helper said, “I was so scared when I saw what had happened.”
The Englishman (SAI KUNG BUZZ is withholding his name until we get a chance to talk to him) is in China on business and hurrying home today.
Yesterday afternoon neighbours gathered to commiserate with the wife and show their support for the family. The police had been and gone. The boys were inside looking at broken windows and the youngest one, about 6, was frightened. The wife was not scared. She laughed, perhaps from nervousness. The neighbours discussed what seems to be going on in the village. The consensus is that it was not an attack on the family but on the landlord.
The people who control most of the land in O Tau valley and its buildings sold a parcel of land to developers. They want to erect two new houses next to the village temple and behind the residents’ favourite tree. These developers, who have similar features — a bit thuggish — and appear to be from the same family, visit the village often taking photos and discussing their money-making plans. They told this BUZZ reporter to his face that they will build the houses and cut down the tree. Workers have partially cleared the site (click here to see earlier BUZZ story).
Broken windows at a family home in O Tau.
The developers have found, the residents believe, that things are not going smoothly. Perhaps they didn’t get what they thought they were paying for. The village-land-controlling family also takes charge of the electric gate that shuts off the village to visiting vehicles. One of the relatives told BUZZ they want “13 hundred thousand” from the developers for use of their road on private land. Stand-off.
Station Sergeant Michael Chin, who is new at Sai Kung station, visited O Tau this morning with two officers reassuring residents, telling them to call 999 if they see suspicious people. A helper in an nearby house said yesterday around 11:30 am she saw two men, one who appeared to be in his 50s and one in his 30s, looking around the village. This morning the landlord, his wife and helpers went to work cleaning the red-liquid off the innocent family’s home.
MESSAGE FROM SAI KUNG POLICE COMMANDER DANIEL TSANG TO BUZZ TODAY
Regarding the ‘Criminal Damage’ case you mentioned, SK Police is seriously concerned about the well being and safety of residents in SK and hence we are taking the matter seriously. The detectives are investigating the case along the line of possible land dispute. There is no person arrested so far. SK Police has significantly stepped up patrols in the vicinity of O Tau and welcomes additional information about the case. Please feel free to provide us with more information through my email or call our report room or talk to our officers on the ground. As a gentle reminder, please ask the residents to call 999 if they spot any suspicious person in O Tau and at the same time look after his/her safety. For residents’ information, Daniel’s email is email@example.com