CY Leung's quick fix not good enough for Buildings boss

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 6:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 8:01pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s use of a wall to seal off an illegal extension in his house on The Peak was not an acceptable way to rectify the problem, Director of Buildings Au Choi-kai said on Monday.

Nor was it a proper solution for Leung’s election rival Henry Tang Ying-yen who proposed to do the same and seal off the illegal basement in his house in Kowloon Tong, Au told legislators.

The head of the Buildings Department made the comments at a Legislative Council development affairs panel meeting convened to discuss the progress of the department’s investigations into the illegal structures on properties owned by both Leung and Tang.

He said simply closing off the entrance to an illegal room with a brick wall was not an “acceptable remedy”.

“It either has to be filled with mud, or struts have to be erected horizontally, vertically and crosswise inside the space to make it unusable,” Au said.

Last week, Tang broke his silence about the illegal basement scandal that sank his campaign. He criticised Leung, calling Leung’s attacks on him during an election debate “unfair” as Leung himself had several illegal structures at his homes at the time.

Tang also said he was asking the department to approve his proposal to seal his unauthorised basement with a brick wall similar to what Leung had done.

The former chief secretary was the front runner in the race for chief executive last year until it was revealed a month before the March 25 election that his properties contained the illegal structures.

He then admitted his "basement garage had been extended to store groceries", but was later accused of lying when surveyors confirmed the area was actually a finished 2,250 sq ft basement.

Four months later, at least six illegal structures were also found at Leung’s houses. In November, he revealed that he had sealed the illegal basement with a brick wall.