Baptist U investigated for running 'guesthouse'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 3:46am

Baptist University could be charged with running an unlicensed guesthouse for renting rooms at its NTT International House in Kowloon Tong to outsiders.

It has reserved 30 per cent of the 164 rooms for people who are not students or visiting professors. People who want to stay only have to be recommended by staff, students or alumni before booking a room.

Such arrangements breach the land-use agreement made with the government when it granted the land for higher education use only in 1997.

The house's website shows that it provides tour and sightseeing services, limousine rentals and use of the university's swimming pool, sports facilities and fitness room.

Details and reviews are available on various hotels booking websites such as TripAdvisor.

Depending on who makes the reservation, suites at NTT International House are available for HK$1,670 or HK$1,960, while deluxe rooms will cost HK$810 or HK$920

The Lands Department has issued a warning to the university for breaching the land-use agreement, and the Office of the Licensing Authority of the Home Affairs Department is investigating the case.

"A prosecution will be instituted immediately if there is sufficient evidence that the premises concerned are involved in unlicensed guesthouse operations," a Home Affairs Department spokesman said.

A university spokesman said the house was a self-funded property and operated on a non-profit basis without opening to the public or operating as a guesthouse.

"The university has not authorised any tourist websites to display the house's information and it has no connection with the websites," he said.