Editorial : Cash incentives for squatters to speed up land acquisition

【明報專訊】THE GOVERNMENT has proposed a reform of the compensation arrangements for building demolition and land acquisition, doubling the maximum amount of compensation for squatter residents affected by New Development Areas (NDA) projects. Non-means tested rehousing will also be offered for the first time to affected squatter households. In the face of severe land supply shortage in Hong Kong, it is an urgent task to speed up land acquisition in connection with NDA planning. The removal of obstacles to the acquisition of land and demolition of buildings is itself in agreement with the general interest of society. However, compensation arrangements should accord with the fact that squatter structures are themselves illegal. Otherwise, it will be tantamount to splashing out at the expense of taxpayers. As new rules tend to create new loopholes, the government should prevent such a situation from happening. Otherwise, some people will take advantage of the new measures.