Watchdog urged to investigate building maintenance bid-rigging

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 4:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 4:56am

The competition watchdog was urged yesterday to investigate bid rigging in building maintenance projects to protect the city's homeowners.

About a dozen members of the Property Owners' Alliance Against Bid Rigging met Anna Wu Hung-yuk, the Competition Commission's chairwoman, to discuss how the body can crack down on unscrupulous firms colluding to raise prices for building maintenance and renovations.

The group, which staged a demonstration outside the commission's office in Wan Chai, demanded that those engaged in price-fixing be punished.

Alliance spokesman Lam Cheuk-ting, who is also the chief executive of the Democratic Party, said Wu had a "deep understanding" of the problem and he was confident she would push other government departments to tackle bid rigging.

Lam said, however, that most people are unaware of the problem and risk being taken advantage of. "The government's publicity strategy on anti-bid rigging is wrong. It should tell the public how widespread and serious the problem is," Lam said.

He called for inter-departmental cooperation to tackle the issue. "Relying on the Competition Commission alone can't solve the problem as the market is now highly controlled by bid-rigging syndicates," he said.

A spokeswoman for the commission said it would consider the group's demands.

The commission is tasked with implementing the Competition Ordinance which aims to tackle anti-competitive conduct such as price-fixing.