HONG KONG'S most famous and controversial synagogue has fallen victim to age and decay and may have to be rebuilt. Fearing that the crumbling Ohel Leah Synagogue is a potential death trap, temple trustees say they are considering what action to take - demolition or renovation. Sandwiched between high-rise tower blocks in Mid-Levels, the Robinson Road synagogue is one of Hong Kong's oldest buildings and has survived years of public debate since it was erected in 1901. It was spared in 1989 from demolition after a two-year tug-of-war between conservationists, its board of trustees and the Government. Swire Properties built a controversial 42-storey twin tower residential block on part of the site last year. Following a number of surveys, one of the synagogue's trustees, Mr Justice Gerald Godfrey, said they were reviewing their options. Work has been carried out to strengthen the structure over the past few years. The synagogue's Rabbi Shmuel Lopin said he had been told there were dangers to people entering the building. 'You can never tell how safe it is. 'When there's 100 people in there like there are on a Saturday or holidays, I think it's a real danger. 'We have holidays coming up in a month's time and we are going to ask if it's safe to be in the building during that time.' Construction of the neighbouring Robinson Road blocks might be the root of the problem, he added. 'Right next to it they had been working on foundations on the two new buildings and the battering of the ground I'm sure has had an effect on everything around the synagogue.' When Mr Justice Godfrey was asked if construction of the Robinson Road high-rises had undermined the synagogue's foundations, he replied: 'That is a point we have considered. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer.' Rebuilding the temple could cost something in the region of $30 million, according to John Latter, senior project manager at Swire Properties. 'Unfortunately it was not all that well-built in the first place - it was constructed with bricks on a shallow foundation,' he said. The chairman of the Archaeological Society, William Meacham, disagreed. 'I was told by surveyors that it was in good shape prior to the construction work on Robinson Road. It's old, but it was extremely well-built. 'I was also told by surveyors at the time that it could withstand the construction work.' He has urged the Antiquaries Advisory Board to look into the situation and give an independent decision.