Public money has been granted to help an applicant buy a $7 million Mid-Levels flat despite claims government funds are being abused. A Housing Society spokesman said yesterday the $600,000 loan for the home in the Grand Panorama development in Robinson Road was approved because the applicant did not violate any rules of the loan scheme. Wealthy relatives are believed to have helped top up the applicant's funds to allow him to afford the home. Under the Home Starter Loan Scheme, only families earning less than $70,000 a month, owning no property in the past 10 years and with current assets of less than $1.2 million are eligible for the $600,000 loan. The scheme, aimed at helping 12,000 low- to middle-income earners buy homes in the private market, has attracted more than 16,000 applicants. More than 300 have received loans. 'It is an individual case. Most of the approved loans are used to buy property below $4 million,' said Housing Society director Elsie Wong Lai-chun. 'But the family does meet all the criteria and we have no reason to turn down its application. We have to act according to the scheme's regulations.' Ms Wong did not disclose details of the case but hinted that relatives of the applicant were willing to lend him money or could arrange a mortgage for the home, which overlooks Victoria Harbour. The case has sparked a row over whether the Government should subsidise luxury home buyers with taxpayers' money. Hong Kong Property managing director Michael Choi Ngai-min suggested a price ceiling to plug the loophole in line with the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme run by the Housing Society. The Sandwich Class loan scheme aims to help those on middle incomes of $33,000 to $60,000 a month buy homes priced under $3.3 million. Ms Wong said: 'At this stage, with only a single case, I would not say it is a loophole. The monthly income limit and banks' mortgage arrangements according to buyers' affordability are already two reliable gatekeepers for our scheme.' The Government also aimed to provide more flexibility to buyers, so they would not fail to complete a purchase as a result of fluctuating property prices which might rise beyond the limit, she said. The Housing Society would gather public opinion and criticism for the Housing Bureau, which would review all housing schemes by the end of the year.