Politicians with glass chins ...

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 May, 2011, 12:00am


I assumed it was common knowledge that the vast majority of village houses in the New Territories have an illegal structure - usually on the roof - and rarely does anyone get into trouble for possessing one. It appears I was wrong; a handful of legislators whose homes bear offending structures are claiming they did not know they were doing wrong, Wong Yung-kan going so far as to say that a huge erection on his roof that wasn't in the original plans was given the all-clear by his builders.

'The construction company I hired to build the glasshouse said it was alright to have it on the roof, as long as no one lives in it,' the South China Morning Post reported Wong as saying. 'Many houses in the village have similar structures. If the government thinks it's not right ... they should have told us earlier.'

Why would having someone live in it make much difference to the safety or otherwise of a storeroom, as Wong says his rooftop structure is? Presumably people still enter.

In 2009, the Post reported that Wong was one of a number of legislators who routinely claimed the maximum travelling and entertainment expenses allowed, without providing records. Between October 2008 and February 2009, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator claimed HK$13,699 each month, about one twelfth of the annual permissible total of HK$164,390.

There is nothing illegal in that, of course - and it's reassuring that this lawmaker is aware of what is permitted in some situations.