'I built it for my family', tearful wife says
'I just wanted to plan a comfy place for my family,' the wife of chief executive hopeful Henry Tang Ying-yen said last night as she took responsibility for an illegal basement in their home. 'I greatly regret that I did it without considering the consequences. I'm very, very sorry.'
Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, who first came under the spotlight late last year when her husband admitted he had 'strayed' in his marriage, is again under public scrutiny. This time, it's because her husband said it was her idea to build an unauthorised basement in their house at 7 York Road, Kowloon Tong.
'He [Tang] seldom deals with family matters. He is very busy at work,' she said amid a barrage of camera flashes at a press conference last night, with Tang at her side. 'I wanted to provide a happy and warm family home for my husband and children, like most wives do.
'I'm the one responsible for the renovation and plans of the two houses, including the basement. He [Tang] knows little about the details.'
Kuo shed tears as Tang tried to answer reporter's questions and explain how the 2,000 sq ft basement was created for 'storage'.
Tang, known to be a wine lover, said his wife initiated the idea, though plans published by newspapers this week show it contained a wine cellar, a wine-tasting room, a Japanese bath, a multi-purpose room and a hair salon.
He said the renovations happened when their marriage was at a low ebb and he did not come clean over the past few days because he wanted to protect his wife. Excavation works started after an occupation permit was issued in 2007.
Kuo said repeatedly that she still supported her husband wholeheartedly to run in the chief executive election. 'I hope you will forgive me and I hope you will give him a chance,' she said. 'He is a good man. Please don't take him as a bad guy.'
Before the couple faced the media in the evening, their residence at York Road resembled a construction site as dozens of journalists went to unprecedented lengths to peer over the walls of Tang's home.
Nine crane trucks rented by media organisations were lined up along York Road yesterday. Reporters surrounded building inspectors when they arrived to survey the property. More than 50 reporters, photographers and television crew members swarmed near the entrance to 5A York Road, where Tang now lives.