By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Representatives of the Ká Hó Village residents yesterday apologised to the public works officials for the dispute that occurred last Friday, and said they hoped the Government can help them reach a compensation agreement with the developers.
Director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) Jaime Carion and his deputy, Chan Pou Ha, met with the head of the Ká Hó Village, Cheong Kok Choi and two other representatives Chung Meng Fai and Ho Ion Fai in front of local media at the bureau premises.
Cheong first said he would like to apologise to the DSSOPT officials on behalf of the village’s residents for the chaos during the land clearing works last Friday, and that an apology notice has been published in Chinese-language Va Kio Daily.
The three residents who were arrested by the Judiciary Police on Saturday for allegedly intimidating and insulting the two DSSOPT chiefs – including throwing eggs at them – have been charged with aggravated insult and were allowed to leave after registering their personal details with the Public Prosecutions Office yesterday.
Meanwhile, Jaime Carion reiterated that the 71,800 square metre parcel located near Estrada do Altinho de Ká Hó was retrieved lawfully last Tuesday, adding that the land is public property and has not been granted to any developers in the past.
He said the DSSOPT does not have the power to solve this problem “left over from history”, and also stressed that the bureau did not help developers recover the land.
According to Cheong, on the two sites of the public land retrieved by the Government last Tuesday are plots that have been used by habitants of the Ká Hó Village for more than 400 years.
The residents were given old land deeds (“Sa Chi Kai” in Cantonese) by the then Portuguese administration, which later granted the land to various developers in 1989.
Although the developers are responsible to negotiate with the residents concerning resettlement compensation, talks were never initiated over the past two decades and thus the land continued to be occupied by the residents.
After sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China in 1999, the Basic Law states that the SAR Government will not recognise such land deeds as a valid certification document of land ownership and therefore all land within the Macau borders belong to the country.
Nevertheless, the village head said the residents are willing to offer the land for the construction of public housing infrastructure if the developers can discuss with them, adding that they hope that issue can be solved as soon as possible.
He also called on the DSSOPT officials not to describe the residents as “having occupied the land without permission” in press releases, which they deemed is not a correct statement.