Surveyors call for investigation, say allegations tarnish image

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong surveyors have urged their institute to examine the circumstances surrounding an unprecedented attack on the professionalism of a valuer.

The appeal follows revelations in the South China Morning Post today that the China Real Estate Valuers Association, which is organised and managed by the Ministry of Land and Resources, has formally complained about what it said was a highly flawed and 'inflated' valuation provided by CB Richard Ellis' Yu Kam-hung to support a listing bid earlier this year by Evergrande Real Estate Group.

Mr Yu is the president of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors.

'The chairman of the HKIS is involved in this case. The institute should handle the case properly,' said Tony Tse Wai-chuen, a former chairman of the institute.

Lau Chun-kong, a HKIS member, said: 'This may be the first time the institute has received a complaint letter from another professional institute.'

The mainland association, a professional group, had provided evidence to support its allegations, Mr Lau said. 'The involved party [CB Richard Ellis] should reply to the specific issues,' he said.

Victor Lai, another HKIS member, said the complaint had affected the image of Hong Kong surveyors.

Mr Lai said the HKIS should conduct a thorough investigation and respond to the China Real Estate Valuers Association. 'The case involves a problem with a property valuation, which is the task of the institute's general practice division,' he said. 'The chairman of the general practice division is the representative of surveyors in general practice. He should be involved in the investigation.'

Lawrence Poon, the council chairman of the general practice division at HKIS, said he had not yet been involved in an investigation.

A surveyor, who declined to be identified, said: 'This is not the first case. The rental valuation of a mainland property owned by a Hong Kong-listed property trust has also been criticised for being above market value.'

The surveyor said such complaints had tarnished the image of Hong Kong surveyors.

'It has also affected the credibility of the valuation reports conducted by Hong Kong surveyors,' he said. 'Foreign investors have begun to doubt the property valuation reports of the mainland developers planning to go public.'

He said the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors should be kept under pressure to investigate the latest incident.

'They won't investigate the case unless they receive complaints, which is different from other professional institutions such as the Law Society of Hong Kong,' he said. 'The institute should change that.'