Residents in Hong Kong estate call for probe after suspected trash found inside concrete of buildings

Owners of government-subsidised flats in Tseung Kwan O claim the trash was discovered during a repair job to fix water seepage problems

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 9:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 9:03am

Owners of government-subsidised flats in a residential estate in Sai Kung have demanded a full investigation into the quality of their buildings after suspected garbage were discovered in the concrete of some blocks.

The estate has been plagued by complaints about building defects since its construction, with residents claiming the latest defects were “uncovered” during a HK$2 million repair job to fix water seepage problems, blamed for the collapse of part of the ceiling of a power room last year.

They accused the Housing Department of lax monitoring during the building of Kwong Ming Court in Tseung Kwan O in the 1990s. The estate, a Housing Authority home ownership scheme project, was completed in 1998, with 4,265 units in seven blocks.

The government must ensure an effective building inspection regime

Chan Tong-wing, chairman of the owners’ corporation of the estate, said on Sunday that they recently found plastic waste, “powder-like material” and “waste paper” inside the concrete used to build the canopy of the blocks.

“You don’t need to be a building expert to know that this is a serious problem,” said Chan, who claimed they had complained to the department but were ignored.

“The department seemed to suggest we had put the waste in the concrete ourselves to stir up trouble. That is very outrageous.

“Under the canopy, there are kindergartens, power rooms, and other facilities. It is no joking issue. But we were shocked the department did not seem bothered.”

Chan added that they understood the 10-year structural warranty had expired but maintained that the government should be held responsible, claiming the defects were “due to the department’s lax monitoring”.

Hong Kong government to issue order for building owner to look into condition of structure after collapse scare

Last year, a part of the concrete ceiling of a power room in the estate’s Kwong Lung House collapsed. Water seepage was believed to have weakened the iron bars in the concrete.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Elizabeth Quat, who supports the residents, said: “The government cannot evade responsibility. The estate has been undergoing non-stop repair works to fix building problems.”

In a statement, a Housing Department spokesman said the structural warranty offered by the Housing Authority had expired in 2008 and a warranty on potential defects had expired in 2010.

“It is now no different from a private housing estate and the owners’ corporation has to be responsible for the daily management and repair works,” he said.

Neither of the estate’s two developers could be reached for comment.