Witness list compiled as basement probe heats up
More than three dozen witnesses are expected to give evidence in a probe into the illegal basement at the home of chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen.
Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told the Legislative Council's development affairs panel yesterday that the Buildings Department had compiled a list of 40 people to interview about the work at No 7 York Road, Kowloon Tong.
'We have been in contact with the house owner, the architect, the structural engineer and contractors and have met some of them,' said Lam (pictured).
The house is owned by Tang's wife, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, who claimed responsibility for the basement project. Tang co-owned the house with her until 2010.
The inquiry began after media reports last month claimed that Tang had an 'underground palace' beneath the house, which did not exist in the approved building plan. The initial reports quoted anonymous construction workers as saying the basement was built before the family had permission to move in and concealed from building officers when they inspected the site to issue an occupation permit.
The couple denied the claim, saying the basement was built after the house was occupied.
To launch a criminal prosecution, officers will have to prove that Kuo or others knowingly conducted unauthorised work or misled the department by submitting a building plan with false information. Offenders face a fine of up to HK$400,000 and two years in prison.
Lam also said Kuo had submitted a work plan to demolish the basement, but it had not been approved.
'We need to decide whether the owner should carry out the work now because this would destroy some evidence,' she said.