Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (December 10):
It has been reported that the Green Island Cement Company Limited has been occupying without authorization a piece of government land in Hung Hom since 1992. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council of:
(a) the details of the case and why the company could have occupied government land without authorization for as long as 11 years; and
(b) the follow-up actions taken and to be taken by the authorities?
My reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:
(a) The Government granted the Kowloon Marine Lot No. 113 to the Green Island Cement Co. Ltd. ("GIC") for industrial use in 1977. In 1978, the adjacent Kowloon Permanent Pier (KPP) No. 90 was granted for use in connection with the adjoining industrial lot. The term of both lots is up to 2047. There is no question that the lot concerned has been occupied by GIC without authorization since 1992.
However, there was a complaint in 1992 against GIC for breaching the lease condition with the operation of a concrete batching plant at KPP No. 90. Lands Department issued warning letters to the grantee in the same year requesting compliance with the lease conditions.
Notwithstanding the above, Lands Department did not take further action. This was due to resource constraints and the priority in handling cases of breaches of lease conditions, and the fact that there were oil depot, power station, sewage treatment plant and other industrial uses, with few residential developments, in the vicinity of the plant.
Lands Department had not received any further complaint against the concrete batching plant between 1992 and October 2000. Since 2000, a number of residential developments were completed in Hung Hom (such as Laguna Verde). With the increasing population in the area, the public were concerned with the health impact on residents caused by the concrete batching plant. In November 2000, the Lands Department received a complaint again from a member of the public against the concrete batching plant at KPP No. 90. The major issues of the complaint were about the dust and noise nuisances caused during the process of concrete production.
The environment of the area around the site has changed substantially as compared with 1992. Having consulted the Kowloon City District Management Committee and with its support, Lands Department decided to take lease enforcement action.
(b) In June 2002, Lands Department re-entered the lot under the provisions of the Government Rights (Re-entry and Vesting Remedies) Ordinance (Cap 126). The re-entry notice was gazetted on 26 July 2002.
On 27 September 2002, GIC applied to the court against Lands Department's re-entry action on the ground of a breach of the lease conditions, and requested Government's compensation for the loss incurred by the company. Government is contesting GIC's application. The case is pending hearing.
Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2003