Silence after opening of Foreign Ministry

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 1997, 12:00am

The opening ceremony has already been held but staff have not yet moved into the unfinished Chinese Foreign Ministry building in Mid-Levels.

Workers were still putting the final touches to the $1 billion glass high-rise yesterday which is a gift to Beijing from tycoon Li Ka-shing.

Security will be tight at the Foreign Ministry Commission in Kennedy Road which is surrounded by high fences.

Nearby residents said the construction noise they have had to put up with for the past year has now stopped after a flurry of work in the weeks leading to the handover.

A neighbour said complaints to police and the Environmental Protection Department had met claims that nothing could be done because the building had diplomatic privilege.

But a ministry official and the department said it did not have any special status.

The department added that it had acted on the noise complaints and was considering the possibility of follow-up action.

Commissioner Ma Yuzhen unveiled the opening plaque last Tuesday.

Foreign diplomats expected up to 300 colleagues to move into the building and another nearby residential complex enjoying views over Central and the harbour.

However, reports in the pro-China press recently said there would only be 120 staff who were to have started work on July 1.