The failure to turn Bruce Lee's former Kowloon Tong residence into a museum commemorating the late kung fu legend 'was not my fault', the owner of the two-storey house said.
Instead, Yu Panglin blamed the Town Planning Board for failing to get the project off the ground at 41 Cumberland Road.
'[Former] secretary for commerce and economic development bureau Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan tried her best in getting the approval from the Town Planning Board,'' Yu said in a statement released late last night.
'Thus neither Mrs Lau nor I should be responsible for this. It was the Town Planning Board that did not approve the application,' he said.
However, several board members denied responsibility last night, saying the board never met to discuss the matter. The bureau said earlier it had tried for more than two years to proceed with the project, even staging an international redesign contest. But negotiations with Yu failed.
Yu said that in January, Lau told him that the board would not approve the application, and as a result the government had to look for another location - Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin - as a base for commemorating the late star.
In 2008, Yu shelved a plan to sell the HK$100 million property - now a short-time love hotel - and donated it to the public for restoration. 'Mr Yu announced then that he would donate the property only if the restored site will feature a cinema, a martial arts training centre, a library and an exhibition hall in order to attract more tourists,' the statement said. It was necessary to build an extra two or three basement floors to increase the floor size to house the facilities.
A government spokesman last night said it respected Yu's ideas.
'Unfortunately such ideas would be rather impossible to pursue without significant departure from current town planning practices,'' he said.'It's a pity that his ideas cannot be taken forward.'