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Burning passion for Shek Kwu Chau incinerator – till camera begins to roll


Howard Winn
Jul 24, 2012

The previous government’s plans to build a super incinerator in the vicinity of the scenic island of Shek Kwu Chau, off Lantau, were put on hold by the Legislative Council some months ago. However, various forces still appear to be working away in the background to advance the cause.

We wrote some months ago about a heavily subsidised trip to Singapore for island residents and environmental groups. The point of the visit was to learn about Singapore’s approach to waste management, which, unsurprisingly, is heavily reliant on incineration. This was organised by a little-known group called the Hong Kong Islands District Association. Participants paid HK$1,000 for the trip, which would normally cost about HK$6,000. It was paid for out of two government funds set up for environmental projects.

Now we hear that a resident of south Lantau has accidentally discovered the association had held a meeting to discuss the incinerator. The meeting was poorly advertised – just an announcement on an A4 piece of paper on the notice board of the district council office. As a result of the lack of publicity, the meeting was thinly attended, by 30-odd insiders of rural committee members and families plus one environmentalist gatecrasher.

Interestingly, the session was chaired by Randy Yu, son-in-law of Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat. Yu is apparently destined to be a district councillor. He started by saying the government’s plan for an incinerator was excellent and that it was a pity the plan had been frozen. This was attributed to biased research conducted by expatriates that was then blindly accepted by locals. It should be noted that Yu’s father-in-law, Lau, opposed the other site suggested in one of the government’s studies – Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun.

The government is believed to have caved in to pressure from Lau not to put the facility in his fiefdom. The tone of the meeting was very much in support of building the incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, until, that is, the environmentalist gatecrasher started videoing the proceedings. The tone then became remarkably neutral, we are told, with Yu repeatedly emphasising he had no preconceived ideas as to where the incinerator should be built. Lai See wonders what this all means.

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