Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

February 16th, 2016:

Lantau folk hit out in development protest

A group of angry Lantau residents confronted Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po yesterday as he led a media tour of the proposed sites for the island’s development.

The protesters condemned the government for proposed plans that would destroy the island’s natural environment.

“I love Tai O, protect Lantau!” chanted members from the Save Lantau Alliance as they held a rally next to the parking area in Tai O, accusing Chan of not consulting the public before coming up with the development plans.

“The government spent two years on a closed-door survey, which doesn’t involve any opinions from the public,” said Eddie Tse Sai-kit, convener of the protesting group.

Tse expressed concerns about plans to extend the Ngong Ping 360 cable car service from Tung Chung to Tai O and establish an entrance plaza in Tai O.

He believes construction and the expected influx of tourists will kill Tai O’s beautiful scenery.

Tse criticized the government for planning to turn Lantau into commercial areas, in the name of developing green tourism, which will not only destroy the natural environment but also result in “white elephant projects” ending up wasting a huge amount of public funds.

During the protest Tse invited Chan to attend a meeting held by residents. Chan said he would consider it.

Wong Wai-king, founder of Tai O Cultural Workshop, also condemned the government for disregarding voices of residents. Wong said the workshop has been in operation for more than 10 years, but no government officials have visited.

Tai O Community Group chairwoman Kathleen Daxon said her biggest concern about the development project is the safety on the roads of South Lantau. An increasing number of cars are permitted to drive on the roads, posing a danger to cows.

Mui Wo resident Thomas Yam stopped Chan at the Mui Wo pier, protesting against the “fake consultation.”

Yam said: “The government behaves like they are making consultations, but the truth is that the plan hasn’t changed at all during the two years of the consultation period.”

Chan responded that all consultation documents are available to the public.

Yam said Chan secretly visited Mui Wo two weeks ago to kick off a consultation meeting but only those who were invited were allowed to meet him.

On concerns of protesters, Chan said at the end of the tour there were some misunderstandings.

He promised to communicate with the public, and will be engaging residents to have a constructive dialogue.