CORRUPTION

Anti-graft campaigners receive death threats after standing up against bid rigging

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 10:14am

Three Hongkongers who are standing up against contractors who allegedly rig tenders to win lucrative maintenance projects say they have received death threats.

They have handed police envelopes they received containing photographs of their families alongside warnings not to make trouble.

One letter was said to record the movements of one resident's pregnant wife and children, suggesting they were being watched.

The three residents - who live at Garden Vista in On King Street, Sha Tin - are members of a new group called Property Owners' Alliance Against Bid Rigging. The group was formed to fight contractors colluding over tenders for building maintenance and renovation.

The trio were allegedly threatened after talking to the media about their objections to planned renovation work at Garden Vista.

One man, who asked to be identified only by his surname Wong, received a green envelope on Wednesday with a photograph of him and his family inside, alongside a letter warning him "not to make trouble" and to consider his pregnant wife and children. The family's movements were also listed.

"I feel very helpless. I never thought I would be threatened just because I spoke up against the project," Wong said yesterday.

Another man, surnamed Lam, said he also received a photograph of his family with a letter warning him "not to stir up any more trouble".

The men said posters had earlier appeared around the estate displaying their photos and personal information and the words: "These are scum."

"It is obvious … we are being watched. I am very worried about the safety of my two children," Lam said.

About 20 members of the group gathered outside Hong Kong Police headquarters in Wan Chai yesterday to demand an urgent investigation.

Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, who has been helping the group, called the threats despicable and urge the government to face the problem of bid rigging.

Bid rigging became an offence under the 2012 Competition Ordinance, although smaller companies are exempt.

The alliance said it was vital to address the problem now, as there were many estates built in the 1980s that were all reaching an age where they needed renovation, with contracts worth more than HK$10 billion a year up for grabs.