Illegal works confirmed in Chan flats scandal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am


Buildings Department officials on Tuesday confirmed unauthorised building works were found in two flats owned by a company linked to the wife of Development Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, and ordered the flat owners to remove the illegal works.

The flat at A4, 4/F, Hoi Hing Building in Tai Kok Tsui was sub-divided into several rooms, each provided with a toilet and a kitchen, a spokesman said, announcing the results of a department inspection of the two flats.

Although the sub-division work did not obstruct or affect the means of escape, or show any obvious drainage defects, one of the rooms was overloaded with partitions and had a thickened floor slab, calling for removal action.

“As [the room] was situated on the cantilevered slab balcony, the partitions sub-dividing the room and the thickening of the floor slab in the room caused overloading of the cantilevered slab,” the spokesman said.

Unauthorised building works causing overloading of the building were “actionable items subject to priority enforcement action”, the spokesman said.

The inspection was conducted after it emerged that Harvest Charm Development, where Chan’s wife Frieda Hui Po-ming holds a controlling stake and Chan was once a director, leased the subdivided rooms.

Another flat, at 4/F, 136 Shanghai Street in Jordan was sub-divided into several rooms with a common toilet and a common kitchen. Inspectors found that the building works involved in such sub-division did not adversely affect the structural safety of the building, nor did such works exhibit any obvious drainage defects, but they obstructed the means of escape of the building.

The spokesman said that according to the prevailing enforcement policy, unauthorised building works obstructing means of escape were “actionable items subject to priority enforcement action”.

“The Buildings Department, in accordance with the established procedures, issued removal orders to the owners concerned, requiring them to rectify the irregularities within 60 days,” he said.

Chan, who is in charge of a crackdown on illegal structures and subdivided flats and boss of the Buildings Department, has faced calls to resign amid the scandal.

He earlier said he had no knowledge of the illegal subdivision works, but later said by “no knowledge”, he meant he did not know the “present situations” of the flats.

He pledged that during his tenure as minister neither he nor his wife would invest in property except for personal use and has said he will stay on in his post.