Hong Kong contractor claims former manager of state-owned company refused to pay him in full over building of illegal basement

But former top manager says contractor’s work was not satisfactory

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 10:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 10:25pm

A contractor accused a former senior manager of a state-owned company of refusing to pay part of the fees to build an illegal basement and also of attempting to threaten him into returning an initial payment of over HK$3 million.

But Shenzhen Nanyou Development and Construction Company’s former board chairman Qiu Shichang said the work by contractor Wong King-chiu was not up to standard.

Qiu made a report to police, accusing Wong of swindling HK$3.2 million from him. Wong, 68, on the other hand, reported to the Buildings Department about the illegal basement. A spokesman said the department had been following up on the case.

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According to Wong, owner of Ming Cheung Decoration Engineering, Qiu had agreed in 2015 to pay him HK$3.35 million to build an illegal basement of about 1,100 sq ft in Qiu’s three-storey house in luxury estate The Green in Sheung Shui. Wong said the project ended up costing about HK$4 million due to Qiu’s request for extra furnishing which was not included in a quotation list signed by Qiu and Wong’s partnering company, Ming Cheung Interior Design.

Wong said Qiu, who had paid him HK$3.2 million in several instalments between 2015 and last year, refused to pay the rest.

He claimed Qiu also asked him to decorate the house, but he decided not to take the job and stopped working in the house.

But Wong said he then received threatening messages from a third party, urging him to return the money Qiu paid him.

He was arrested by police when he was crossing the border at the Shenzhen Bay control point in November last year, Wong said, adding that the police told him he was being accused of swindling.

Wong said he had given police all receipts for material purchases and the hiring of workers to prove he did not cheat. “[Qiu] visited the ... site four or five times a week and paid me in several instalments,” he said. “If he felt the work was not up to standards, why would he continue to pay me?”

But Qiu said he paid him because he trusted that Wong was “a good man”, adding that his lawyer had commissioned a surveyor and found the work was worth only about HK$800,000. He also denied asking Wong to decorate the house, and said he visited the site every one or two months.