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Bid to delay third runway voted down

A motion, urging the government to delay construction of the third runway, was defeated by 13 pro-establishment legislators.

Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki moved the motion yesterday in the Three-Runway System Advisory Committee, citing as reasons labor shortages and insufficient raw materials.

But after a two-hour debate at the Legislative Council, only five pan- democrats, including Kwok, supported the motion.

He expressed fears about cost overruns, citing the funding woes of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou Express Rail Link, while technical problems, such as a so-called “sky wall,” remain unresolved.

“We don’t have enough manpower and raw materials. We don’t have any agreement [with the mainland] to resolve the sky wall. This is why we are in a hurry to sign contracts. We all know that once the airport signs the contracts, there’s no way back,” Kwok said.

People Power’s Albert Chan Wai-yip urged the government to first submit all related reports because without them, lawmakers cannot make a well-informed decision.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force requires aircraft leaving Hong Kong to reach an altitude of more than 15,700 feet before they enter mainland airspace. This altitude restriction is commonly known as the sky wall.

However, pro-Beijing lawmakers said the project should not be delayed any further.

Tourism legislator Yiu Si-wing and transport legislator Frankie Yick Chi- ming said the third runway will benefit the tourism, logistics and trading sectors.

Airport Authority chief executive officer Fred Lam Tin-fuk said sea sand will be bought from China and imported labor considered for the project, which has seen its budget increase to HK$141.5 billion from HK$84.5 billion.

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