Hutchison Whampoa

Villa owners plan to protest in HK

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2007, 12:00am

They say Beijing luxury properties not up to standard

Owners of luxury villas built by Hutchison Whampoa Properties in Beijing are planning to travel to the company's headquarters in Hong Kong to complain about the alleged poor quality of their homes.

The two groups of villa owners of The Greenwich - Hutchison Whampoa Properties' first residential project in Beijing - would arrive in Hong Kong before Lunar New Year, said a representative of the homeowners surnamed Jiang. More groups could arrive later, she said.

'We will hand out leaflets detailing our plight at main spots throughout Hong Kong such as Central, and at the headquarters of Hutchison Whampoa, to let Hong Kong people know that the Hutchison Whampoa Properties project has put the interests of hundreds of property owners at stake,' she said.

Ms Jiang refused to reveal the number of participants involved or the exact dates of their activities.

The homeowners, who come from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, have been complaining about the use of shoddy materials and slanted walls in their villas since construction finished last month.

Yesterday, more than 100 homeowners travelled to Beijing's Grand Hyatt Hotel, also developed by the company, to investigate 'Hutchison Whampoa's standard of luxury property'.

They later staged a protest at the estate, hanging banners on their cars.

'They told us the villa was a luxury project, and would be on par with every other luxury project it had developed,' Ms Jiang said. 'But our villas are very different. They are not even comparable with government-subsidised residential buildings. At least their ceilings are even, their walls are straight and the doors can be closed tightly.'

In Beijing's Chaoyang district, the estate has about 700 villas.

According to Ms Jiang, officials from Hutchison Whampoa Properties in Hong Kong met the homeowners last week and promised to repair the villas.

'But we don't want a repaired villa. We paid prices 50 per cent higher than other similar projects in this district,' she said.

Ms Jiang said some homeowners wanted their money back, while others still wanted to live in their villas as long as they were declared safe by government agencies.

Hutchison Whampoa Properties in Beijing was unavailable for comment yesterday.