Sun Hung Kai, Hong Kong's largest developer, to only accept Lands Resumption Ordinance for plots already zoned for public housing

By Sandy Li / | September 26, 2019 10:38 AM SGT
Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong's largest developer by value, has said it will cooperate with the government should it use the Lands Resumption Ordinance to acquire rural land it owns, but only as far as land already zoned for public housing use was concerned.
The developer has five to seven plots in areas already zoned for subsidised housing in Hung Shui Kiu and in the northern New Territories. It holds 300 hectares of farmland in total, of which two-thirds is in different stages of land-use conversion. The remaining third is still in the process of amalgamation, as these lands are relatively small in size.
"This land is scattered in different places. In this atmosphere, we will cooperate with the government if it invokes the Lands Resumption Ordinance," Mike Wong Chik-wing, the company's deputy managing director, said.
SHKP was, however, opposed to the government seizing plots set aside for private residential and commercial purposes, as well as land that had not been zoned yet. "We have spent 30-40 years assembling these lands. The government should respect the Basic Law, which protects private property. The Lands Resumption Ordinance should be a last resort for the government to address the land supply issue," Wong said.
The company's statement comes a week after mainland Chinese state-owned media said unaffordable housing was to blame for the protests that have rocked Hong Kong for 16 weeks now. It urged the Hong Kong government to boost housing by seizing land being hoarded by developers with "vested interests".
Besides the Lands Resumption Ordinance, Wong said, there were other options available to the government as far as increasing land supply was concerned. It could increase the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of the site it was being built on, from one to five times for rural land, for instance.
The government could also speed up the processing of land-use conversion applications and accelerate infrastructure development to improve accessibility in rural areas, which would speed up housing estate development.
"SHKP's holding is just 3.6 per cent of the 8,300 hectares...