Donald Tsang

Leaky roof still a problem at financial secretary's residence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2007, 12:00am

Taxpayers' money to be spent on a facelift for Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's 70-year-old official residence will include fixing the villa's leaky roof.

Cost of the maintenance at the 6,000 sq ft colonial-era mansion in the south of Hong Kong Island has not been made available, but Mr Tsang's spokesman said it would not be extravagant. 'The previous interior decorations are still in good condition and the financial secretary is going to keep most of it,' he said.

Built in the 1930s, the two-storey villa at 45 Shouson Hill Road is listed as a Grade III historic building, which means it has 'some merit, but it has not yet qualified for consideration as a possible monument'.

Unlike his predecessor Henry Tang Ying-yen, who had a wine cellar built to satisfy his penchant for fine red wine, Mr Tsang had made no particular requests, a source familiar with the situation said.

But the dripping ceiling, which does not seem to have been rectified after Mr Tang's four-year residency, is one of the 'must-fix' items.

Taxpayers footed the HK$1.5 million renovation bill when Mr Tang and his family moved into the house in early 2004.

Mr Tang had to make room for his children by converting a private home theatre left behind by Antony Leung Kam-chung, who drew HK$2.4 million from public coffers to furnish the residence in 2001.

Refurbishment is in progress after Mr Tang vacated the villa last week. He will move into the chief secretary's residence on The Peak.

Mr Tang's spokesman has pledged that the refit of Victoria House will be modest.

That exclusive colonial-style residence in Barker Road has not undergone major refurbishment since the HK$4 million facelift by Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when he was appointed chief secretary in 2001.

'There will be normal maintenance work. The principle is to spend only when necessary,' the spokesman said.