Road wars: Lantau closed road must go, says Randy Yu

Lantau’s road wars continue. District council member Randy Yu has attacked the closed road, describing as out of date and “highly unreasonable.”

In the latest volley in a continuing battle over the island’s roads, Yu has called on the Transport Dept to cancel the fee charged for the annual permit.

Yu, the South Lantau representative and vice chairman of the Islands District Council, told the council’s transport committee that despite the growing number of visitors, Lantau is stuck with a road network built more than half a century ago.

“The closed road is out of date, but still exists,” he said.  “The operation of the existing Lantau Closed Road Permit system is highly unreasonable.”

Additionally, the imposition of the annual permit fee of $660 is cumbersome and excessive and denies residents’ relatives and friends “the right to drive” to Lantau to visit, he said.

His remarks at the transport committee’s March meeting follow a similar call by Tai O rural committee chairman Lou Cheuk-wing in February.

Yu complained that the rural committee leaders and Legco members had proposed on numerous occasions the expansion of the existing road network, but the government had refused to build it. Environmentalists and many local residents are also opposed to the expansion.

Lantau’s rural committees want to create a round-island road network, upgrading South Lantau Road to standard grade and adding a coastal connection from Tung Chung to Tai O and a north-south link from Tung Chung to Mui Wo.

The Transport Dept and, more recently, the LanDAC committee, which was set up to plan Lantau’s future, have rejected both roads on cost and environmental grounds.

In January last year the Transport Dept lifted the ban on non-local vehicles, allowing up to 25 cars and 40 tourist coaches a day to visit the island. Police reported that in the first six months following the change, traffic offences soared 150%.

(Photo: Lantau drivers protest against the lifting of closed road restrictions in July 2015.) 

3 Comments on Road wars: Lantau closed road must go, says Randy Yu

  1. Steven Knipp // May 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm // Reply

    Robert,
    In order to make this story more informative for your readers — I really think you need to mention the fact that Randy Yu’s job as District Council for Lantau Island is very much just a part-time gig for him.
    Yu’s full-time job is actually as a Senior Manager for Henderson Land — one of the largest property development companies in Hong Kong.
    And prior to this, he was senior manager for Sino Land, another mega property company; this one with a large landholdings located all over Lantau.
    The idea that a man employed by a major private development company can also be elected as a government official, directly involved in land policy and such things as Country Parks, is a major conflict of interest.
    And this type of collusion between government and private business should not be accepted as being normal.
    In south Lantau, Yu is often called “The Invisible Man” — because he’s nowhere to be seen when problems crop up. And will only make an appearance when he sees an opportunity to shrill for his company.
    His bizarre demand that Lantau now open its roads to full traffic makes absolutely no sense whatsoever – the Lantau Police are completely dead against the idea – there is already complete traffic chaos in Mui Wo.
    And it also goes completely against the Government’s own much-stated policy of maintaining Lantau as a genuine eco-tourism area.
    Lastly, while Yu loves to promote himself as a so-called “Lantau boy, ” the truth is Yu doesn’t even live on the island!
    And he has not lived on the island for many years.
    This is a man who has no genuine interest in serving the people of Lantau, or indeed any ordinary Hong Kong people .
    Yu is only interested in using Lantau to help his company earn ever great profits, no matter what the serious and long-term consequences are to Lantau, and the people who live here or the many thousands who come here to gain a brief escape from the badly polluted urban areas.

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  2. I believe Randy has left the Sino GM job and is working for one of the other developers. Unfortunately in Hong Kong not only do we have developers on local councils but their representatives and those of the kuk have their own seats in the legislature.

    Personally I think Randy Yu is more about being aligned with the kuk and the other rural committees, although there’s barely daylight between their views and those of developers. When it comes to roads all the S Lantau rural committees want to build a highway around the island and open up to all traffic, and then build a freeway from Mui Wo to Central through the ELM.

    It’s not clear whether he wants to carve out a political career for himself or he’s just being loyal to the family. As far as I can recalled he’s voted the government and Heung Yee Kuk line on every issue.

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  3. Steven Knipp // May 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm // Reply

    Randy Yu now works for Henderson Land, having changed (housing development) horses from Sino to HL just before his election last year. By the way, Yu’s father in law is Tai O’s Heung Yee Kuk boss Heung Yee Kuk. Between the vested interests of the big property developers and their Kuk pals – Anthony Li, Home Affairs boss (for Islands) just does as he is directed. I asked the clerks at the little Home Affairs office in Mui Wo, when Li was last been out to Lantau. They both laughed and said and no one in their office ever remembers seeing him on the island.

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