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Donald Tsang

A closer look at the Shenzhen penthouse in the trial of former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang

The three-storey flat is located in a posh district, with features such as a walk-in closet, gym and library

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 10:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 11:45pm

The intended retirement home of former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen sits in a posh western corner of Shenzhen – in a Futian neighbourhood known for its close proximity to reputed schools, a major highway and the central business district.

The 6,700 sq ft property is a luxurious three-storey penthouse, and Tsang’s trial offered a glimpse into what could have been the setting for a comfortable life with his wife after a career in the civil service.

Futian is a relatively new neighbourhood compared with Lo Wu, the first developed zone in Shenzhen. David Hong, head of research at consultancy China ­Real Estate Information, said: “The planning [of the district] is slightly better and more practical.”

The penthouse – which Tsang said he planned to live in for two years after stepping down as chief executive – is in Junhao Building under phase one of the East ­Pacific Garden estate.

The apartment perks include a 365 sq ft storeroom and a 375 sq ft walk-in closet – twice the size of some of the smallest flats which developers in Hong Kong have been building.

The features were converted from two guest rooms by ­renowned Hong Kong interior ­designer Barrie Ho Chow-lai, a change prosecutors claimed was “tailor-made” to store souvenirs Tsang had obtained over his ­45-year career.

The master bedroom spans more than 600 sq ft, with a bathroom that was to feature a hi-tech toilet bowl.

There is also a tea room, gym, landscape garden, wine cellar, greenhouse, and library fitted with a calligraphy room.

Tsang claimed he had paid developer Shenzhen East Pacific Group – of which businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau was a shareholder – an annual rental payment of 800,000 yuan (HK$903,000) for the property. His failure to declare his ties with Wong landed him in court. Months before he stepped down, he abandoned his plans to live in the penthouse after it came under media scrutiny.

Most of the units in the ­building take up one floor, measuring more than 3,000 sq ft, the Post found.

Flats half the size of the one Tsang intended to occupy generally have monthly rents ranging from 300,000 yuan (HK$339,000) to 400,000 (HK$453,000) yuan.

Andy Lee Yiu-chi, Centaline Property Agency’s Shenzhen branch head, said the residence was also near Shennan Road, one of the major arteries of the special economic zone.

“There are some reputed schools nearby,” he said, adding that it was only a short drive away from the business district.

But when asked if it was a good place for retirees to live, he said: “This is a rather bustling ­neighbourhood.”