The high price many pay for ascent to 'luxury living'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 May, 2010, 12:00am

Which estate in Hong Kong has the tightest security, judging by it being the most inaccessible? No, it's not Donald's residence in Government House. Over many years, I have had many an occasion to go inside to interview various bigwigs - and they even let your company car in.

My top pick is The Belcher's, a self-styled luxury estate in Pokfulam Road. It has a huge entrance and a giant square, but estate management Shun Tak just won't let any vehicles in, except taxis and school buses. What if you are a guest visiting? Well, alight at the bus stop half a block away. I feel sorry for residents who want to throw an at-home party. Woops, not only is there no parking, attendees can't even have someone drop them off.

But it gets worse. Woe to anyone who tries to move or remove furniture or move house. Movers' trucks are especially a no-no. They have to be parked off site; Woo Hop Street, which is way down the hill, is recommended. That really tests the endurance of even big muscular men, especially when they know they could have just loaded or unloaded right outside their building. 'Yes, we get cursed all the time by movers and drivers - I am used to it,' one security guard said.

These days, every private estate is billed as 'luxury living', even if it's built on top of a garbage dump. This is how to tell real luxury estates from fake ones built by our shameless fat-cat developers: When security guards rush out to park your car for you and carry your shopping, you know you are in the right place. At pseudo-luxury apartments, you have Nazi guards stopping you from doing anything besides walking to and from your flat. Their listed rules, by-laws and prohibitions are longer than the phone book. Luxury living - I'll give that a pass.