Beijing will have no control over the SAR office in the capital, according to the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs. Explaining the $58 million cost of the proposed office, Michael Suen Ming-yeung said it would not be subordinate to any Chinese authorities. 'The office is to represent Hong Kong's interests. There is absolutely no subordinate relation,' he said. The remarks came after a government paper suggested the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council (HKMAO) might have to be consulted on contacts with mainland authorities. Mr Suen said the SAR office and the HKMAO were merely contact points for exchange. 'The HKMAO acts as a gatekeeper against 'unnecessary requests' by mainland authorities. It's not a gatekeeper for us,' he said. He said the office chief, a policy secretary-ranking official directly under the Chief Secretary for Administration, would report to Beijing any interference. But members warned of confusion over the authority and responsibility of the head of the SAR office and the Constitutional Affairs Secretary as both are ranked at directorate-grade eight. The 11 overseas representatives are ranked between D2 and D6. Public services panel chairman Ip Kwok-him suggested pitching the post at D7 initially. But Mr Suen said the ranking was appropriate. Representatives of provinces and municipalities in Beijing were of similar status.