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Waterway Change Allowed

A judge rules against conservationists, saying Hong Kong may fill in part of Victoria Harbor.

October 07, 2003|From Associated Press

HONG KONG — Conservationists hoping to stop a government project to fill in part of Hong Kong's famed Victoria Harbor were defeated Monday when a judge ruled that they hadn't proved the work would cause permanent damage.

The Society for the Protection of the Harbor, headed by conservationist Winston Chu, wanted to halt the government's plans to change Hong Kong's skyscraper-lined harbor.

The project aims to make space for roads and a promenade.

Opponents say similar reclamation projects in the past have badly shrunk the harbor and that such undertakings threatened to turn it into something that looks more like a river.

But High Court Judge Michael Hartmann said Chu's group hadn't presented enough evidence to support its claim and ruled that the government could proceed.

But the judge warned that if appellate courts decide the work violates a Hong Kong harbor protection act, the government will have to go back and remove the reclaimed land.

Chu attacked the ruling in a news conference.

"It is ridiculous to reclaim land now and dig it up later," Chu said. "The conclusion is clear: Do not resume reclamation of the harbor, or do so at your own risk, because the people of Hong Kong will not stand for it."

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