The Lands Department (LandsD) today (September 15) gave the following response on issues related to enforcement actions against illegal occupation of government land at Wang Chau, Yuen Long, raised by members-elect of the Legislative Council, Mr Chu Hoi-dick and Professor Yiu Chung-yim:
The LandsD received complaints in February about illegal occupation of government land to the north of the area earmarked for the first phase of the public housing development at Wang Chau in Yuen Long. On-site inspection revealed that the suspected occupation of government land was scattered around various private land lots, involving an area of about 3.8 hectares, where containers had been placed and unauthorised structures were found.
The LandsD took land control actions against the cases in March. Notices were posted pursuant to the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap.28) on the government land being occupied, and the occupiers were required to cease occupation of the government land before the specified deadlines. Most of the illegal occupations were ceased or rectified before the specified deadlines. However, the occupiers of two government sites failed to remove the structures before the specified deadlines and hence committed an offence under the Ordinance.
Of the 3.8 hectares of government land that ceased to be occupied illegally, the LandsD has fenced off 2.6 hectares and restored the accessibility of driveways in the area.
Regarding the remaining 1.2 hectares of government land, the LandsD received a number of applications for Short Term Tenancies (STTs) before the specified deadlines. As the government land patches concerned, being scattered around and squeezed between private land, are unlikely to be separately alienable in the market through open tender due to their topography, location and size, and the land is not required for any public purpose in the short term, granting STTs can prevent the sites from being set idle or unlawfully occupied for free. Therefore, the applications were approved in accordance with applicable procedures and established criteria, involving 20 STTs granted on a quarterly basis at market rate.
The government may terminate the STTs by giving a three-month notice if the sites are required for public purposes. Relevant contract terms have also included a provision allowing the LandsD to backdate the charging of rental to the date when the relevant sites started to be occupied illegally by the STT applicants concerned. In this regard, the LandsD is collecting evidence to establish the backdating period.
For the two cases which had not ceased the illegal occupation of government land before the specified dates in accordance with the enforcement notices, the LandsD has initiated prosecution actions against the occupiers. As the cases are now with the Court, it is inappropriate for the LandsD to disclose specific case information at this stage, in order not to prejudice the prosecution work.
Ends/Thursday, September 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:38