Students living at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are likely to get more roommates to tackle an acute shortage of hostel places on campus. About 200 double rooms are set to be converted into triples to provide more beds for needy students who have to travel a long way to classes, although the plan must be endorsed first by the university board. 'This will only be a temporary measure. We plan to place one more bed in each double room by replacing the furniture,' said a source. 'The triple rooms will be converted back to double rooms after we finish building more hostel places in three to four years. 'More than 500 places should be ready by that time.' The university now has 1,150 double rooms to cater for 2,300 undergraduate students, charging them about $9,000 annually. Luke Wong, the university's Director of Student Affairs, said the shortage of hostel places had long been a problem and rejected reports that students rented out their beds for profit. 'We think the chance is very slim,' he said. 'A few students in the past gave their places to other schoolmates. But the problem is not serious. The students did not aim to earn profit - they only asked the students to move in to their place and pay the rent for them. 'A student many years ago sub-rented his room to a cashier working at a supermarket on campus. But we discovered it immediately. It's easy to spot an outsider moving into student hostels.' Students who sub-let their hostel places usually did so because they did not like their roommate, he said. They faced penalties including loss of their hostel place, having their rent confiscated and being blacklisted for future accommodation.