June 4th protests

Owners threaten legal action over world's first June 4 museum

Owners' corporation of TST tower will sue if advised that project breaches building rules

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 4:37am

Property owners of a commercial tower in Tsim Sha Tsui will seek legal advice on whether the opening of a memorial museum dedicated to the Tiananmen Square crackdown would violate the building's rules.

But the group behind the museum, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, are confident it would not breach the regulations at the Foo Hoo Centre.

Alliance vice-chairman Mak Hoi-wah, who attended a meeting with building owners last night, said they would press ahead with the world's first June 4 museum this month unless legally prevented from doing so.

The owners' corporation concluded it might take legal action if the advice it receives suggests the museum's operation is illegal.

"The attendees have expressed their concerns on the possible inconvenience we might create," Mak said. "I have promised that we will try our best to … minimise the nuisance."

The owners' corporation had already sent a lawyer's letter of objection to the alliance ahead of the museum's planned April 20 opening.

Concerns revolve around a possible violation of property deeds as the space might only be useable as offices, and the nuisance created for other tenants.

On Monday, a member of the owners' corporation admitted to the Post they were also uncomfortable with being associated with the June 4 crackdown, given its political sensitivity.

Besides members of the alliance, only one owner present last night objected to asking lawyers if the operation of the museum would breach the stipulated commercial use of the unit.

Mak revealed that two independent owners had agreed to bear the legal costs themselves, a departure from the usual practice of having the owners' corporation pick up the bill.

It is understood that one is the owners' corporation head, Stanly Chau Kwok-chiu, whose company Reer Garment Manufactory is on the first floor, Mak said.

"The decision is quite strange," he added. "I hope there isn't any political consideration behind the objections, as our exhibition is merely educational. We hope the museum will help people get to know more about the reality of the June 4 incident."

No members of the owners' body, including Chau, could be reached for comment yesterday.