18th September 2018
200 HONG KONG BOAT OWNERS FACING EVICTION
“Families facing homelessness and financial ruin”
Two weeks on from being served an eviction order to leave the Discovery Bay Marina Club by the end of the year, the hundreds of boat owners who live there are facing an uncertain future as they wait to hear from the marina owners, HKRI, about where they are meant to take their homes or whether they will ever be allowed to return.
They have now been issued with a reminder from HKRI that they must leave the marina by December 31st or face financial and legal recriminations. But still HKRI has failed to answer any of the homeowners’ questions about their future.
The four-months’ notice to leave, comes after many years of a lack of transparency from HKRI about what they intend to do with the marina after 2018, which is when, ten years ago, the company aligned all the debentures (a lease for the wet berths) to expire.
The most pressing concern for the boat owners is that there is nowhere else in Hong Kong for the boats to go. The only apparent alternative is to lay moorings, at great expense, in a nearby typhoon shelter next to a prison. However, there is not enough time to do so, for so many boats, and without docks, electricity or fresh water, and no easy access to the islands, the boat owners would still need to find somewhere else to live.
A spokesperson for the boatowners said:
“For several years we have been unable to plan for our futures because not only has HKRI failed to communicate their plans to us, but they have also, through their management teams, spread disinformation, which suggested that we would be allowed to continue to stay in the marina after this year. This heartless move by HKRI comes as a great shock to us all and the stress it is causing the entire marina community should not be under-estimated.”
“Hundreds of families are facing both being made homeless as well as financial ruin. Over the past few years we have repeatedly attempted to discuss the situation with HKRI in good faith, but they have refused to come to the table. We just want HKRI to talk to us and tell us, after years of being their loyal customers, how they are planning to help us.”
“Sadly their silence means we can only conclude that this is just another case of big business trampling on the little people, while it goes about its ruthless expansion.”
Hundreds of families have lived in the DB marina over the past 30 years and were enticed to invest in house boats there by HKRI, who advertised it as an alternative lifestyle in Hong Kong. Many of the large boats, which can have several bedrooms and bathrooms and have running water, electricity and Wifi, have been purpose-built for DB Marina, and owners have spent as much as they might have on more conventional homes to buy them along with the debentures. But outside of the marina the boats lose most of their value and with outstanding mortgages, many owners are facing negative equity and possible bankruptcy as a result of this move by HKRI.
Discovery Bay is a privately-managed residential suburb of Hong Kong based on Lantau Island. It was originally developed in the 70s as a holiday resort.
The boat owners in Discovery Bay come from all over the world and are willing to be interviewed.
Henry Moreno: firstname.lastname@example.org +852 9087 8927
Sarah Passmore email@example.com +44 (0)7718258809