Inspectors battle crowd for a look inside house

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am


York Road in Kowloon Tong resembled a construction site as dozens of journalists went to unprecedented lengths to peer over Henry Tang Ying-yen's walls.

Awaiting the arrival of inspectors sent to check the property's compliance with building regulations, nine crane trucks rented by media organisations were parked on both sides of the street on which Tang lives with his wife, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin.

More than 50 reporters, photographers and television crew members waited near the entrance of 5A York Road, the Tang residence - which, as it happens, is opposite the Kowloon sub-office of the central government's liaison office.

Eventually, police had to close York Road as the media jostled for the best positions from which to photograph the property, with three camera cranes sometimes reaching over the wall and hovering above Tang's front porch. One reporter, before being lifted up, said she was concerned the crane buckets might collide in mid-air. Some photographers without industrial-sized help climbed the wall or lifted cameras attached to tripods to snap photos.

After hours of waiting, six inspectors from the Buildings Department arrived at around 4pm, but it took them an hour to get through the scrum and enter the house. Their car was surrounded by journalists and an information officer said they could not get in because of the chaos.

Tang's son, William, arrived at the house at around 5pm to accompany the staff on their the inspection.

Lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and a few other League of Social Democrats members arrived earlier in the afternoon, protesting with red banners and pig masks. They urged Tang to allow journalists to enter his house for an inspection.

Lew Mong-hung, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a supporter of Tang's main rival, Leung Chun-ying, stopped by in his car and handed out leaflets asking Tang to withdraw from the chief executive race.

Two people also protested at the house entrance. One showed slogans demanding the right to vote for the chief executive, and the other handed out fliers saying she wanted to be a chief executive candidate.

Curious members of the public gathered and took pictures. Even school-bus drivers on their way past could not resist taking pictures of the scene with their mobile phones.