Tang's official residence given a HK$3.2m public makeover
Fanny W. Y. Fung
More than HK$3.2 million of public money has been spent to refurbish Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen's government-provided residence.
No one has lived at the colonial-style Victoria House in Barker Road on The Peak since early last year, as Mr Tang's predecessor, Rafael Hui Si-yan, preferred to stay in his private residence since he served less than two years in the job. He used the lodge only to receive guests.
Mr Tang and his family moved from the financial secretary's residence to their new residence last week.
The chief secretary's spokesman said the cost of repairs and maintenance amounted to more than HK$2.9 million. The sum included HK$1.4 million to replace leaking windows installed 20 years ago and HK$1.1 million to repave cracked driveways. Underground water pipes were also replaced.
About HK$300,000 more has been spent on renovation, including moving a pole for the special administrative region flag from the rear garden to the area in front of the house. The move was made at Mr Tang's request.
An additional washroom was built on the ground floor of the house to meet guests' needs. A verandah was also refloored.
Showing journalists around the house last night, he denied the widely reported story that he had requested a wine cellar be built when he moved to Shouson Hill Road in 2003. He said the house already had a perfectly adequate wine cellar, just as his new home did.
Mr Tang showed journalists the fish pond in the garden, which now contains eight koi. He said the ones in the financial secretary's residence had been left for his successor, John Tsang Chun-wah.
He could not say whether the eight koi in the Victoria House pond had been newly bought or were left by Mr Hui.
The chief secretary said his new residence was more convenient for him to commute to his office.
The chief secretary's home is being refurbished
The amount paid to replace leaking windows in Hong Kong dollars $1.4m