• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:03am
NewsHong Kong

Nervous investors in Apex Horizon hotel suites seek police help

Apex Horizon buyers want developer to clear their doubts and defer contract deadline

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 5:27am

Four buyers who "trusted Li Ka-shing" and paid deposits for suites in Cheung Kong's controversial hotel project appear to have had second thoughts and turned to the police for help.

Between them they bought three units at the Apex Horizon in Kwai Chung in a provisional agreement reached last Wednesday, but it emerged yesterday that they were given what a lawmaker called a "surprisingly short" six days to conclude formal agreements - by tomorrow.

With the government examining sales of the 360 units - the result of a legal loophole allowing hotels to be sold in parts - the buyers demanded a postponement in the contract deadline and asked the developer to clear their doubts as to their "equivocal" ownership rights.

The project is controversial because it is the first time in Hong Kong that a developer has sold hotel suites, classified as commercial property, so buyers do not have to pay stamp duty.

A middle-aged woman investor said: "I trusted Li Ka-shing that this would be OK. But now, the lawyers' advice differed from what Cheung Kong has said.

"I was told I could live there before signing the provisional agreement," she said outside Kwai Chung police station. "But the lawyers have told us afterwards that we couldn't decide [the lessee]."

They were told the suites could be rented out for "short-term leases". "So how long can I lease out? A year?" she asked.

The complainants also said that the lawyers they usually used refused to handle the Apex Horizon transaction "for fear of risks", and they finally approached one of three firms suggested by Cheung Kong.

The woman investor added: "We are so uncertain about what we'll finally get. Cheung Kong must give us a full account of our entitlements before asking us to sign the final agreement."

She and another woman paid HK$200,000 as deposit for a suite costing almost HK$3 million last Wednesday - two days before the government unveiled new cooling measures.

Another unit involved was about 900 sq ft and cost more than HK$4 million.

"This is such a new project," one of the women said. "I'm not sure if I've been cheated."

She also blamed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for inaction. "All he did was merely say they were risky. But he didn't press [Cheung Kong] to do anything to postpone the transactions," she said.

Civic Party lawmaker and barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah said six days between provisional and formal agreements was "much shorter than the usual 14 days".

"The time is needed to check the deeds and seek lawyers' advice," he said.

"But a buyer can always disagree with the condition and ask the vendor to amend it."

In response to the complaints, Cheung Kong asked the buyers to "contact it directly". It said: "The process of contract conclusion has been very smooth."


More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Come on that lady investor should stop whining.
She wants to make big bucks but don't want any associated risks.
There are no risk free investments.
i don't see the either Li Ka Shing or his company has done anything wrong. when you go to buy oranges you check each orange from each direction and then pay $20. now you are spending 3 million and you don't check with your lawyers the deeds etc? Li Ka Shing went to your home to force you to buy? or his agents forced you to buy? its funny, when you make profit you simply pocket when you are going to lose something you go to police, oh i may be cheated. losers!!!
it is their own responsibility! they had the free will to choose buy or not. Those people always like to attribute failure to others
IF you don't get it, dont buy it..... when u **** up stop whining.
A hotel is a hotel! Can you imagine the Four Season, the Peninsula or Grand Hyatt etc... start to do what Mr KS Li's company just did? Need some cash flow?
Trust K S Li? Another Lehmen Brothers fiasco looming on the horizon when the terms and language of the contract are so compicated that most lay investors fail to understand the risks involved.
When you see a comment like"cannot use their normal lawyer" and the government told them it was risky it looks they are professional investors who are trying to back out. If someone says you are taking a risk an still go ahead then you can only blame yourself.
hard times !
Yes,it is time for the ignorant/innocent buyers of the hotel suites of Cheung Kong's Apex Horizon to be clear-minded and highly alert.How can such a cheap suite/flat to be sold while the residential flats are in high demand ? The calculation of our richest guy in town, that old Chiuchowese, Li Ka-shing is known to be so acute and accurate.How can you---a commoner buys cheap product from him ---an experienced merchant in town ? Of course not ! Yeah,it is time to check the deeds seriously and seek lawyers'(other than those of Cheung Kong's) advice. A buyer can always disagree with the condition listed in the contract and ask the seller/vendor to amend it. Maybe Cheung Kong has a difficult time ahead besides greatly anger the Leung administration ! Right ?
Selling hotel rooms as a condominium is not uncommon elsewhere with the owner allowed a certain number of room nights per year with the room in a rental pool managed by the hotel the rest of the time. This is a norm in places like Whistler BC where many investors would want a place to stay a few weeks a year while generating rental income the rest. If people bought thinking they could live there, this would be an unusual arrangement for a "hotel". You can imagine the result if people started cooking in their rooms and hanging up laundry....
Caveat emptor



SCMP.com Account