Protesters seek HK public housing
September 5, 2011, 10:20 pm TWN
HONG KONG -- Over 1,000 demonstrators marched through downtown Hong Kong on Sunday demanding more public housing amid rising anger over the territory's sky-high property market.
The noisy crowd snaked through the densely-packed city of 7 million, with activists calling on government officials to boost their efforts at bringing down soaring real-estate prices.
"Low-income people cannot afford to have their own house so we want the government to do more to help," demonstrator Rex Lai told AFP. The city should build more public housing because "prices are going up very fast," Andy Hui said.
Official crowd estimates were not immediately available, but police at the scene estimated that at least 1,000 people took part in the rally.
The financial hub, famous for its sky-high rents and super-rich tycoons, has seen home prices surge on the back of record low interest rates and a flood of wealthy buyers from mainland China.
The government has imposed new taxes and staged a series of land auctions in the past year-and-a-half to boost supply and bring down prices.
Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to China in 1997, maintains its own political and legal system, and guarantees civil liberties not seen on the mainland, including the right to protest.