Police inquiry into Yuen Long dumping case

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 January, 2011, 12:00am

Police are investigating a subcontractor on suspicion that it delivered construction material to an unauthorised dump in a green belt in Yuen Long, then used forged papers to convince the developer it had used an authorised site.

The developer, Chinachem, said the investigation followed the dismissal of the subcontractor. The case has prompted its main contractor for the development, Chevalier, to immediately end the practice of dumping excavated materials on private sites. All materials will now be sent to government facilities or landfills that impose a charge and are more stringently supervised.

'Chevalier was let down by its subcontractor, which went to the great length of forging documents to deceive. Apart from the termination of the subcontractor, the matter had been reported to the police for further inquiry,' a Chinachem Group statement said.

The Planning Department confirmed it had gathered evidence on the illegal dumping on the green belt and was ready to take enforcement action against the owner of the dump site. Villagers said there had been no dumping since Thursday.

All these developments were triggered by a South China Morning Post's report on December 31 that disclosed that truckloads of excavated materials from the Chevalier worksite were dumped on a massive area of farmland in Hung Shui Kiu in late December. Yet last week the Environmental Protection Department said it would not intervene because it found no evidence of construction waste dumping.

Last night, a Chinachem spokeswoman clarified that the company did not report the matter to the police. She said police officers had approached them after receiving media inquiries about the dumping. The group was not sure if Chevalier filed the case to the police.

The police would not confirm the report and Chevalier did not return calls. The dismissed subcontractor was not identified.

During a visit to Hung Shui Kiu on December 29, the Post identified at least nine different trucks unloading material 16 times over the course of 21/2 hours in the morning. One truck was later traced back to Chinachem's work site in Tsing Fat Lane, Siu Lam. The truck then returned to the site fully loaded.

Chinachem and Chevalier investigated upon inquiries and with information such as the number plate of the truck provided by the Post. The companies then said that 'some trucks' went to the unauthorised site and presented forged stamped delivery notes to Chevalier.

But Chan Lung, from a construction company that hired the dismissed subcontractor to transport the waste, said last night he had heard nothing about the forgery allegation and the police investigation.

'It is just a technical fault that the subcontractors should have filed some documents to us before they went to the dump site. The dumping is definitely legal and it is needed by the landowner to build a private access road to level the site for greening purposes,' he said.

Based on journey records taken by security guards of the site, over a period of 65 days from October 12 a total of 5,261 truckloads of the materials were sent from the work site.

While Chinachem did not say how many truckloads it thought were diverted to Hung Shui Kiu, it alleged that the landowner of the dump site 'may have induced the subcontractor or some of his drivers to divert the materials to the site'.

Land registry records show King Cheer, controlled by car racing star Paul Poon Tak-chun, owns part of the site.

According to Chinachem, all the materials were supposed to be dumped in an authorised construction site of the MTR Corp in Wo Sang Wai.

But last night the MTR Corp said it did not have any work site there. A spokesman for the rail company said it had another work site for the cross-border express railway project near Mai Po, but that site did not require any excavated materials for construction purposes.

'The only work site of the corporation near Wo Sang Wai is the Mai Po site of the Express Rail Link. There is no spoil requirement so far for the site at Mai Po,' he said.

In response to that, a spokeswoman for Chinachem blamed miscommunication for the mistake. She then clarified it was not an MTR site but a private construction site, which she could not specify.

Last week a subcontractor for Chevalier said the authorised site was a housing work site of Henderson Land. That could not be confirmed last night.