OFFICIALS' powers are to be widened in an attempt to avoid serious landslides such as the Kwun Lung Lau tragedy in which five people were killed. Laws would be amended so officials could order owners of private slopes to check underground drains, said Assistant Director of Buildings Cheng Wei-dart. A report on the Kwun Lung Lau landslip showed undiscovered leaks in the underground drains were a major cause of the accident. At present, the department can only order owners to repair slopes when visible defects are found by department investigators. Mr Cheng said that when the new law was passed, investigators would be able to ask the owner to check the drain if surveyors suspected there might be problems. 'We have to reduce the chance of possible landslips,' he said. The department has issued 45 statutory orders for hillside repairs in the first nine months of this year, compared with 31 in the whole of last year.