Unjust for gov’t to subsidize the rich; nearly $400M rents of private recreational clubs exempted

Green Sense investigated that for private recreational leases, 27 private sports clubs (including Hong Kong Golf Club – Fanling) are only paying rents and rates (and/or nominal rents) – which basically means that they are paying extremely low rents. The amount exempted per year is nearly $400 million in total. Green Sense believed that this is unjust and the policy is tantamount to subsidizing the rich, so Green Sense demands all venues to be fully open.

(Ranking; Name; 2017-18 Payable Rents (meaning rents actually paid); Estimated Market Value; “Exempted” Rents)

Roy Tam, voluntary chief executive of Green Sense, slammed that these venues adopt membership schemes, which are expensive and exclusive to the rich. Tam said it is unjust to subsidize these clubs with a huge sum of public funds. Green Sense also called for a comprehensive review by the government, including stating terms of opening these venues fully to the public in order to compensate the losses of rezoning other recreational sites as residential sites.

Tam also said he proposed to use the Fanling golf course to be an alternative to Northeast New Territories (NENT) development plan, but now as the NENT plan is under way, developing residential flats in Fanling golf course will lead to lots of burden on traffic and amenities. Thus, he said it is difficult to say whether the idea of developing Fanling golf course should continue. Also, Tam described that it is ridiculous for some stakeholders (who are protecting the golf course) proposing reclamation. Roy Tam also cast doubts on why they turned a blind eye to the impact of marine ecology. Tam added that it is of utmost importance to control the external population at the source.