Probe of Leung's former home in Stanley draws a blank
Buildings officers who visited chief executive's former home in Stanley draw a blank in search for entry point to suspected illegal extension
Joyce Ng, Joshua But and Tony Cheung
The Buildings Department is unable to confirm whether an illegal extension exists in Leung's property in Stanley after inspectors failed to locate any entry point yesterday.
It will carry on the inquiry and check other flats in the threestorey building, officials said.
Inspectors spent an hour in Leung's old home in Tung Tau Wan Road a day after Leung told lawmakers he would arrange a visit with the tenants renting it.
A spokesman said: "As our staff members observed, inside the flat there was no access or door to connect the unit to the space between it and the man-made slope behind."
But he added that the department could not yet conclude that the purported "secret chamber" did not exist.
The 2,000 sq ft first-floor flat drew media scrutiny last month after a construction worker claimed to a magazine that it held a storage room that was unauthorised. Leung bought the property in 1979 and lived there until the early 1990s.
The block backs onto a slope, allowing for a possible illegal extension in the space behind the flat.
Media reports speculated that a small hole seen in an external wall was intended as ventilation for an illegal extension.
Structural engineer Greg Wong Chak-yan said the inspectors' failure to find an access point meant either there was no extension or it had been sealed off. "Although it is tempting and common to make an extension in this kind of building, which rests on a man-made slope, the little hole itself does not suggest that."
In 2001, the department said it found a garden canopy and "alteration works to the unit" in the Stanley property that were unauthorised, and Leung fixed the problems afterwards.
But the department has refused to say whether the current alleged extension is included in the 2001 "alteration works".
Meanwhile, the first survey conducted over the illegal structures saga showed 49 per cent of more than 1,000 respondents said they would cast a vote of no confidence in Leung.
That represented an increase of four percentage points, the University of Hong Kong pollsters found. The Civil Human Rights Front is organising a march on New Year's Day to call for Leung's resignation.
It estimated more than 20,000 people would take part. Group member Jackie Hung Ling-yu said: "There is a big eruption of discontent among the people towards our chief executive."