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Poultry farmer hit by lack of license

by 5m Editor
23 February 2007, at 8:20am

HONG KONG - A judicial review bid by a Yuen Long poultry farmer over the government's handling of his farm application has stalled in the High Court over factual disputes, though Justice Michael Hartmann strongly hinted that the challenge was likely to fail.

Hartmann portrayed 61-year-old Mo Chun-hon and his wife, who have raised quail in Yuen Long for more than 20 years, as victims of an aging industry which is under siege by the modern threat of a global bird-flu pandemic.

The dispute began five years ago when Mo and his wife, surnamed Yeung, reluctantly agreed to turn in their farming license to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The deal, which the government was pushing to combat the spread of bird flu in 2002, yielded HK$724,000 in compensation for the couple.

Mo and Yeung reapplied for a license in 2003, only to have their application rejected as the department had tightened its licensing requirements.

The couple, who appeared without counsel, said Thursday that officials from the department had misled them into believing they had satisfied the necessary conditions for a license and would receive help in reopening their business.

Because of this understanding, the couple had continued to breed poultry.

However, department officials proceeded to confiscate more than 3,000 quail, a move which the couple claims cost them HK$800,000.

Source: The Standard

5m Editor