Super-Prison Proposal Shelved Indefinitely
After a massive lobbying effort in which thousands of signatures
were gathered, hundreds of letters were written, and numerous meetings with government officials, Legislative Councillors, District Councillors and Rural Committee members, LIM was pleased to note that the government announced on October 12, 2004 its plans to shelve the project indefinitely.
Background to the proposed Super-Prison
In March 2003, it was discovered that the government was seeking HK$47M funding for a detailed engineering study for the building of a super prison on 114 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea between the islands of Hei Ling Chau and Sunshine Island, plus a massive fixed crossing to South Lantau. There was no alternative site proposed.
“No open public consultation had been undertaken and the shock of this travesty brought together, in a very short time, a number of people who created the Living Islands Movement.” — LIM.
Our efforts resulted in Legco approving only HK$7M for an initial feasibility study. This gave LIM some time for further study of the prison problem and to find a better solution for all concerned, before Legco would meet again to (likely) approve the next stage of the process.
However, it became apparent that one reason for the government selecting this site was that it “had no value”. This revelation gave LIM its prime aim, which is to raise the understanding of the whole community that the islands have huge economic value if they are nurtured and sustainably developed.
One of the recognized aspects of sustainable development is eco-tourism, which would offer visitors interesting and enjoyable experiences plus the opportunity to appreciate the natural environment of land and sea, local cultures, traditions, music and history.
In particular, the fruits of this would create a sustainable future for the indigenous population, which has been neglected for the last 100 years.
We therefore undertook two fields of study: The first (and ongoing) study is to show how this vision of the islands can be realised for the benefit of all; the second was to analyse the merits (if any) of the government’s argument for a super prison and to identify alternative sites for prison development that meet operational needs far better than does the government proposal.