Want to run or hike the hills of Lantau and promote conservation at the same time?
Hong Kongers have that chance next month with the first UTML – aka Ur Trail du Mont-Lantau – offering nine different events ranging from a 2km walk to a 100km endurance race.
Organisers Ms So and Ms Chung say they took the idea from the famed UTMB around Mont Blanc, the world’s biggest trail race.
Ms So said with the government pushing ahead with the Lantau Tomorrow reclamation, “we wanted to hold an event to encourage people to hike the hills and forests to save Lantau.”
The UTML comprises nine different races, starting with a 2km road walk around Tung Chung, moving up to 10km -16km courses for regular hikers, and then three ultra-trail routes 50km, 60km and 100km in length.
The other twist on the UTML is it’s a virtual event. It will run for all of November and people can complete their chosen course in their own time.
“You go to Lantau, you pick one of the routes that we provide, and then you finish the trail,” said Ms So.
“Then you get the GPS record through a smartphone app, Strava, Polar, or Garmin etc, and you can screencap it and share it, along with photos taken along the route.”
The hashtags are #HKUTML #and IloveLantau.
Ms So said that apart from promoting the preservation of Lantau, she hopes to help bring together people with similar views.
“It’s about community building. This belongs to everyone who loves Hong Kong and loves Lantau.”
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The HK$47 billion road and tunnel link between Chek Lap Kok airport and Tuen Mun will open by year-end.
The connection is the final and most expensive piece in the HK$120 billion HK-Macau bridge project.
It connects north from the Chek Lap Kok boundary crossing to Tuen Mun via a 5km undersea tunnel. A flyover connects south to the North Lantau Highway.
The new road-tunnel connection, which has taken nine years to build and carries the clunky title of Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL), reduces the journey time for vehicles in Zhuhai or Macau to Shenzhen.
It has also attracted the ire of Tuen Mun residents, who complain that it does nothing to solve their chronic traffic congestion problems.
It does open up an alternative path to the airport, however. The freeway link from Kowloon was cut for several hours when a barge struck a support on the Kap Shui Mun bridge in October 2015
In her policy address last year CE Carrie Lam floated the idea of waiving tolls on both the Lantau Link and the new tunnel to save travel costs for Tung Chung residents.
Nothing has been heard of the idea since, however.
Lam says after the tunnel is opened it will be easier for Hong Kong vehicles to drive north into Shenzhen, although details are still to be worked out.
Because of the limited capacity of Hong Kong roads, it won’t be a reciprocal arrangement, she said yesterday.
In separate incidents in Tung Chung, police have arrested a man following an altercation after he refused to wear a mask, while a 72-year-old man died in an apparent suicide.
Police say a 52-year-old man named Wong entered a convenience store on Mei Tung St next to Tung Chung Crescent without a mask at about 11pm on Thursday, HK01 reported.
When a 21-year-old employee named Tam asked him to put on a mask, Wong refused and struck Tam on the head and hands.
Both Wong and Tam were taken to North Lantau Hospital for treatment for their injuries. Lantau police are investigating.
Police were called to Citygate at 7:50am Friday after the body of a 72-year-old a man was reported.
The victim was unconscious and was sent to North Lantau Hospital but was later certified dead, Headline News said.
Police found a suicide note at the scene and believe he had fallen. The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.
For crisis help:
The Samaritans (English, Cantonese, Mandarin and other): 2896 0000
The Samaritan Befrienders (Cantonese): 23892222
Caritas Family Crisis Support: 18288
Forget the security law: here comes the election – and you the voter can play your part.
The 2020 Legco election is scheduled for September 6, with some democrat activists calling the most critical election in our lifetimes. That may be hyperbole.
But they are also saying that the new security law may make this the last where candidates are not screened for their political sympathies. Probably not hyperbole.
To maximise their chances, and to fly the flag for the democratic process, the pro-democracy camp will hold a primary this weekend to choose its candidates for the Legco poll.
The primary is open to all registered voters. You just need to bring your Hong Kong ID card and proof of address to the voting station.
With the drama over the security law, it is easy to forget that the democrat forces obliterated the pro-Beijing parties in last year’s District Council elections,
Thanks to an energised electorate and a huge voter registration drive, they tripled their number of seats and took control of every district council (except ours).
With that sort of turnout, democrats believe they have a strong chance of winning control of Legco.
Of course, the communist party forces have been struck by the same thought, which is one reason they rushed through the new security law.
In any case, elections and electioneering are still legal, especially a privately-held one like this, organised by a group called Power for Democracy.
The voting is simple but the background is a bit complicated, because Hong Kong’s electoral system is designed that way. Here’s a brief explainer.
The Legislative Council (Legco) has 70 seats: 35 geographical seats of the kind you find in a regular democratic system, and 35 functional constituency seats that you don’t find anywhere else. A functional constituency is a business or sectoral seat, like agriculture and fisheries, Heung Yee Kuk or education.
It’s no secret that Beijing officials created the functional constituencies to shore up their monopoly on power. It has worked so far; democrat parties have always won the popular vote and pro-CCP parties have dominated the FC vote.
Right now the pro-democracy camp holds 24 seats; that number was 30 after the 2016 election, but the government found a way to disqualify six members.
In this weekend’s primary, every Lantau voter gets two votes:
* the local seat, known as New Territories West.
* the so-called district council ‘superseat’, technically known as the District Council (Second) Seat.
In Hong Kong’s system of multi-member constituencies, NT West returns nine members. The democrat parties currently hold six and don’t believe they will win enough votes to take a seventh. But eight democracy groups, known as ‘lists,’ are competing, so they are seeking your help in whittling that down to six. Choose just one list.
The ‘superseat’ is open to sitting district councillors from all over Hong Kong (there is another district council FC in which councillors themselves vote). Again, your job is to choose just one candidate or list.
That’s it. Happy voting.
AT A GLANCE
What: Pro-democracy camp primary election
When: 9am-9pm, July 11-12
Where: Mui Wo: 8 Ngan Kwong Wan Rd, opposite Ngan Wan Estate Block 3.
Tung Chung: G/F Ying Fook House, Ying Tung Estate (July 11 & 12)
Fuk Yat House, Yat Tung Estate, open area (July 11); Tung Chung Town Centre Bus Terminal (July 12)
Bring: Hong Kong ID plus proof of address (eg, utility bill)
Further information & donations: Power for Democracy Facebook page
This is the new double-decker bus that will run between Tung Chung and Mui Wo, starting in the third quarter.
New Lantao Bus Co (NLB), which released the photo this week, says the new bus can carry 88 passengers, up 40-50% from existing single-deck vehicles.
The buses are timed to come into service after residents start moving into the new HOS apartments in Mui Wo, NLB says.
The two HOS estates are expected add approximately 2,000 people to Mui Wo’s population of 5,400.
NLB has ordered ten air-conditioned low-floor vehicles to run on the 3M route.
Each bus can carry 47 passengers on the upper level and 41 seated or standing on the lower level.
The company says it ran trials in June 2016 and November 2017 – in the latter testing it out on the entire 3M journey.
The 3M is the only public transport link between Mui Wo and Tung Chung and is severely crowded during rush hour periods.
But the Transport Department (TD) says the current service has “roughly” enough capacity to support demand.
In a paper submitted to the Islands District Council last October, it said that according to a survey, hour the highest level of bus occupancy at peak hour was 81% in the Mui Wo direction and 88% in the Tung Chung direction.
The TD says the new buses will be equipped with a closed-circuit TV and a ‘black box’ so NLB can monitor the condition of the dirver and the bus operation for safety purposes.
It says fare, route and frequency on the 3M route will remain unchanged after the introduction of the double-deckers.
It is not the first time double-decker buses have run on Lantau roads.
Prior to the construction of the Tsing Ma Bridge in 1997, two-decked buses used to run between Mui Wo and Tong Fuk to carry passengers to and from the ferry pier.
A three-bedroom apartment at Century Link has just sold at a price of HK$19,159 per square foot – a new record high for the Tung Chung secondary home market.
The original owner, who paid HK$8.922 million for the 642 sq foot unit in 2015, sold it for $12.3 million – a 38% gain, according to Benny Fong, assistant regional manager at Midland Realty Tung Chung,.
The apartment was in Block 3A, with about 500 sq feet of balcony and sea views, Economic Times reported.
In another transaction, a two-bedroom apartment in La Mer, the low-rise section of Caribbean Coast, sold earlier this month for HK$6.65 million.
Situated in block 15, its price of HK$11,812 per sq foot of usable area was a record for a low-rise in Tung Chung, according to another Economic Times report.
The original owner had purchased it for HK$4.365 million in November 2013, thus booking a profit of 52% or HK$2.285 million.
Centaline Tung Chung manager Ivan Chan said that the buyers, who have bought the flat for their own use, believe there is a shortage of stock on the local market and that with the opening of the HK-Macau bridge later this year they are confident Tung Chung home prices will go even higher.
Apartments at a new Tung Chung public housing complex will go on sale next week.
The new estate, Yu Tai Court, is on the corner of Yu Tung and Chung Yan roads, opposite the North Lantau Hospital.
It contains 1226 flats in two towers, 40 and 28 floors.
The units range in size from 277.7 to 571.6 square feet and the sales prices will range from HK$1.59 million to HK$4.28 million – a 70% discount on the market price, HK01 reports.
While applications will be open from March 29 to April 11, tenants won’t be moving in for two and a half years. The current estimated completion date is August 2020.
The Housing Authority is also selling another 3200 HOS apartments at Kai Tak and Cheung Sha Wa.
Police are looking for links between the Tung Chung burglaries over the weekend and the recent spate of break-ins on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Lantau police say they are confident the robberies at two Tung Chung estates, Visionary and La Mer, were carried out by the same team.
They say the thieves climbed up the perimeter walls and along the terraces or balconies to enter through unlocked doors or windows.
The burglars escaped with a HK$1.47 million haul of watches and jewellery from a Visionary apartment last Monday or Tuesday.
At La Mer, a part of the Caribbean Coast complex, burglars climbed on to the roof in order to break in and steal watches and jewellery estimated to be worth HK$450,000.
They also broke into an another apartment through the balcony but did not steal anything.
Lantau District Crime Squad, who are investigating the case, are probing possible connections to robberies at upscale apartments in Causeway Bay, Happy Valley, Kowloon Tong and Kowloon City.
Including Tung Chung, 13 flats were burgled across the city in two weeks.
[Updated] MTR, which manages the La Mer and Caribbean Coast properties, said in an email to Lantau News that a review of security measures was underway following the break-ins.
Police have issued a warning following the discovery of three fake HK$100 notes issued by a Tung Chung convenience store.
A woman named Koo complained to police that she had received the notes in change after topping up her Octopus card at the MTR station OK store on Friday .
A spokesperson for the OK group said company was concerned over the incident and was cooperating with police, Apple Daily reported.
In the past year, authorities have seized 1888 counterfeit banknotes, according to HK ET.
In January 273 counterfeit notes were reported, of which two-thirds were HK$100, an d the rest HK$500 and HK$1000 notes.
Police called on members of the public to pay close attention to the banknotes they receive.
A spokesperson said the HKMA website shows the security features of Hong Kong currency, including the color patterns and the presence of a metal line and a watermark.
Thieves have broken into two Caribbean Coast apartments this weekend, with one resident losing valuables worth HK$430,000.
A 48-year-old man told police he had lost jewellery and watches in the break-in, which occurred at 10pm Friday in La Mer, the low-rise block in Caribbean Coast.
Police said the thieves appeared to have gained entry from the rooftop, Sing Tao reported.
In another break-in at the same complex yesterday, police said burglars had entered the apartment via the balcony.
However, the resident, a 64-year-old woman, said no items had been stolen.
The break-ins come just three days after a Visionary resident lost HK$1.47 million in valuables – one of a spate of luxury apartment robberies across Hong Kong.
These latest burglaries do not appear to be linked. Lantau District detectives are investigating.