Time to end land rights abuses in New Territories

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    Good article in S China Morning Post includes:

    In my days with the Independent Commission Against Corruption, we often received complaints of corruption, fraud and abuse of position involving land issues in the New Territories.

    These ranged from the misuse of agricultural land, the illegal transfer of “ding” rights – that is, the right of male indigenous villagers to build a house – and huge numbers of illegal burials in a village neighbourhood, to fraud involving government compensation for the resumption of land, as well as election bribery concerning rural representatives.

    Any non-indigenous villagers living in village houses in the New Territories would have experienced the blatant abuse of land within their village. Village roads are blocked for the allocation of car parking spaces, for renting to local residents, with the rental income going into unknown pockets.

    Though determined to ease the acute housing shortage, the government has to confront at least three major opposition forces in trying to get more land: the existing occupants refusing to be evicted; the environmentalists refusing to give away one inch of the countryside; and, the rural kingpins wanting to maintain their local influence. Hopefully, public sympathy can galvanise support for the government to stand up to the rural leaders in the resumption of land in the future.

    The government should grasp this opportunity and quickly publish a master plan for all brownfield sites in the New Territories, and conduct a public consultation exercise. Hopefully, with strong public backing, officials can push through land resumption as efficiently as possible.



    SCM Post opinion piece:

    Blinkered view in search for land

    There’s plenty of supply if you look in the right places but with powerful forces at work, it’s easier to stiff the little guy

    The one redeeming quality of the Leung Chun-ying government has been its unrelenting efforts to increase land and housing supply. But when there are obvious supply solutions that officials never mention, you know something is amiss.

    I am, of course, referring to the enormous land banks developers have amassed, and massive New Territories lots that have been reserved for small village houses.


    I have no trouble with developing brownfield sites – former agricultural land occupied, often illegally, by businesses such as car parks and storage containers. It’s long overdue. But more reclamation?


    Unfortunately, our tycoons and the Heung Yee Kuk, the rural power broker, still enjoy extensive influence. So better destroy the environment and evict the little guy.


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