28 March 2012
Gov’t seize and destroy bikes on Lamma
Today, FEHD officers presided over the wilful destruction of private property and had it dumped into a trash compactor at Yung Shue Wan's Waste Transfer Station, while an EPD officer, supposedly in charge, looked on helplessly.
Earlier today, 28 March, members of various government departments – the police, Lands Dept, and FEHD, together confiscated bicycles that had been left on the ferry pier (the usually place to park bikes) and immediately took them to the nearby waste transfer station where they were thrown into the trash compactor and sent to landfill. Members of the public were given just two days’ warning and though some tried to intervene to save the bikes, they were threatened with prosecution for “interfering with government officers”.
The unusual action of destroying the bikes, rather than sending them for bulk auction, was a specific instruction for this raid, said the lead FEHD officer, who identified herself as ‘Madame Chui’.
Jo Wilson, Chairperson of Living Lamma, said, “this is symptomatic of the wider problem of unthinking bureaucracy and a lack of education on waste issues, which is leading Hong Kong down a very unsustainable path. It is also particularly frustrating that government can act so quickly and efficiently on this, but not to requests to enforce the law on the illegal dumping of waste on agricultural land and a whole slew of suggestions that Lamma residents (and those elsewhere) have put forward for environmental improvement over the last 20 years.”
Martin Turner, chair of Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, notes the popularity of cycling and the value it brings to the community on Lamma and calls for policies that support and further integrate cycling, including respect for property and appropriately located parking. In this, he urges that local residents’ views be sought and respected.
Most of the bikes confiscated and destroyed were in rideable condition and some were expensive models, says local resident Alan Sargent. “Neglected bikes on the pier age quickly in the heat and salt air, so it's quite apparent when one isn't being maintained.”
An issue that may be related is the planned cycle parking area near Yung Shue Wan pier, seen as an irrelevant boondoggle by many local residents, who are asking for improved parking along the pier itself. This would be cheaper and more practical as it is closer to the ferry, offers easier access, and would not destroy the coastline or impose tens of millions of dollars’ worth of concrete on to this gentle location.
Jo Wilson added, “This reprehensible action is directly relevant to the debate on the incinerator as it highlights the failure by government to alter attitudes towards waste, even within its own departments.”
Living Lamma has written to the Environment Bureau, seeking an investigation into today's action.
Photos of the bikes at the waste transfer station, by Jo Wilson. Please credit.
(all photos date 28th March) http://www.flickr.com/photos/livinglamma/?saved=1
See also the current Lamma Forum thread on this issue:
Further information available from:
Martin Turner, chairman, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
9203 1505, <email@example.com>
Jo Wilson, Chairperson, Living Lamma.
2982 0920 / 9042 3241 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alan Sargent, Lamma resident, 2982 4804, <email@example.com>
Damon Wong,, Living Lamma. 6181 3139 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Issued by Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, with the support of Living Lamma
About the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
The Hong Kong Cycling Alliance works to encourage cycling and to improve cycling conditions in Hong Kong by lobbying authorities, offering practical support to planners, and coordinating the action of Hong Kong’s many cycling clubs and groups.
About Living Lamma
Living Lamma seeks to ensure that human impact on the Lamma environment does not destroy the characteristics which make it so attractive. In a two pronged approach, it responds to Government proposals and planning notices to lobby for careful development that will enhance the natural beauty of the island and make it a more pleasant place to live in and visit. Secondly it campaigns against actions that destroy natural habitat or create eyesores.