Lawyers should tell their clients what legal protection they have when buying flats on the mainland, according to draft guidelines from the Law Society. The society's 3,800 members should alert buyers to the difference between buying properties in Hong Kong and China. Herbert Tsoi Hak-kong, a Law Society council member and chairman of its standing committee on compliance, said: 'Property laws in Hong Kong and China are very different. 'There is some legal protection in Hong Kong which does not exist on the mainland. We will ask our members to give an extra warning to clients in their mainland property deals,' he said. The guidelines, drafted after hundreds of buyers lost millions of dollars, will state the role a solicitor should play in mainland property transactions. Mr Tsoi said solicitors should tell clients what role they are playing. If he or she is to act as a Chinese-appointed attesting officer, this duty is confined to checking whether all documents abide by Chinese law. An attesting officer should not receive the money for the purchase. Buyers should have another lawyer to represent their interests. 'If an attesting officer oversteps these duties, then he is taking some other role, and he should have to bear more responsibility,' Mr Tsoi said. This month about 70 buyers complained to the legal body that lawyers had escaped responsibility after failing to reclaim their properties, which had been paid for. Mr Tsoi said the guidelines, to be published next week, would become part of solicitors' practising rules. But Daniel Wong Kwok-tung, of the Solicitors' Concern Group, said the guidelines failed to give buyers enough protection. He said the Law Society should ban lawyers representing developers from taking a double role as attesting officers. 'There is a serious conflict of interest. The Law Society must stop this,' he said. Annie Cheng Shun-wah, spokesman for a concern group on unsettled purchases of mainland properties, said an attesting officer should be independent. Mr Tsoi said the society had completed an initial investigation into the complaints and a report would be ready by next week. A disciplinary hearing will be held into a case in which a lawyer acted as an attesting officer but was not appointed as one by China.