Developers plead innocence to charges of fencing off public space

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

Some open spaces purportedly 'privatised' by private owners have been found to fall outside the boundaries of the estates.

One instance is The Portofino, a luxury project in Clear Water Bay that a Chinese-language newspaper claimed had placed its public space behind its main gate.

But a security guard at the site yesterday said the area in question was not meant for the public; he pointed to a pavement along Pak To Avenue which, he said, was the designated public space. 'The track is open to the public 24 hours a day,' he said. 'We patrol it every day to ensure safety even though it is outside the [property].'

At Hollywood Terrace, where the management had been accused of stopping reporters from entering the open space on the 5th and 6th levels, security boss Leo Pao said the public had never been barred. People were free to get to the area from either Queens Road Central or the entrance on Hollywood Road, he said.

A Hollywood Terrace resident, Veronica Hui, said she had seen non-residents using the space without causing any inconvenience.

At Millennium Plaza, part of the public space has been occupied by a cafeteria that has provided outdoor seating since 2001. Cafe manager Cherry Wan said it was licensed by the government.