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Hong Kong Readies Land for Disney

HONG KONG (AP) — The government signed the first land reclamation contract for Hong Kong's planned Disney theme park Monday with a local construction company.

Y.C. Lo, the territory's civil engineering director, signed a $510 million contract with HAM-HK Construction Joint Venture to reclaim an area of about 494 acres at Penny's Bay off the outlying Lautau Island, a government statement said.

The reclamation project is scheduled to be completed by January 2003, the statement said. Environmentalists say extensive reclamation at the uninhabited area may damage marine life.

The government and The Walt Disney Co., based in Burbank, Calif., announced in November a $3.55 billion deal — financed mostly by Hong Kong taxpayers — to build a Disneyland here.

The government hopes the park, scheduled to open in 2005, will create jobs and attract tourists.
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