Chief secretary Carrie Lam vents fury over plight of Lam Po-ching, 80

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 8:00am

The chief secretary is furious over the handling of the evictions at 51 Kai Ming Street, which has come as the housing and development ministers are on holiday, a government source familiar with the matter says.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor voiced her anger at a meeting with top officials yesterday, the source said.

Scores of residents learned for the first time on Thursday that they would have to temporarily relocate by next Friday - from To Kwa Wan in eastern Kowloon to Tuen Mun over in the western New Territories.

"Both Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and Paul Chan Mo-po are on leave and Carrie was infuriated about how the residents were being resettled," the source said. Cheung, the secretary for transport and housing, is away until September 1, while development secretary Chan is due back at work on August 30.

The source said the chief secretary was particularly angry at the suffering caused to Lam Po-ching, 80, who has told how her failing eyesight makes the move to a new neighbourhood a frightening ordeal.

It is understood that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who is also on leave, has been put "in the picture" about the mass eviction while the building is made safe.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah is on leave until Monday, while Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung's leave ended yesterday. Politically appointed officials are entitled to annual leave of 22 days.

Since July 1 last year, Leung has taken four holidays that added up to 33 days. A breakdown shows he bridged 19 days of leave with weekends and public holidays. He used four days of leave, two weekends and three Chinese New Year holidays to form an 11-day break in February.

"Technically, he has not breached any rule by maximising the use of his holidays, but it affects public perception of the government as so many problems wait to be solved," said Claudia Mo Man-ching of the Civic Party. "Such behaviour is obnoxious."