Almost a month after Typhoon York led to the raising of the No 10 signal, there are countless broken windows at the three government office towers in Wan Chai, buildings that mysteriously suffered more damage than almost any other. About 100 will be replaced this week. But Secretary for Works Lee Shing-see warned it might be the end of the year before the others are all dealt with, as new panes had to be ordered from overseas. Nor could he offer a satisfactory explanation for why these government blocks fared so much worse than those around them, showering glass on passers-by. Officials have always insisted the design of the buildings was not at fault. Instead they blame flying debris for breaking 429 panes in Revenue Tower, Immigration Tower, and Wan Chai Tower. Engineering representative Raymond Ho, who raised the issue in Legco yesterday, was in a building nearby when Typhoon York struck. Since it escaped unscathed, he wondered how flying debris could be the whole explanation. This forced Mr Lee to admit there may have been another cause. Apparently the three towers were vulnerable to a funnel effect, since their location allowed wind to sweep in from the waterfront. He conceded no one had bothered to check this when the blocks were being built. But Mr Lee still thought there was no cause for concern. In the finest tradition of Hong Kong bureaucrats, a subcommittee was already tackling the issue. In fact, it had been set up even before Typhoon York struck. Better still for the Government, it had already come up with an initial finding. This conveniently concluded that present design standards for glass used in buildings were 'generally adequate'. Chan Wing-chan suggested this might mean the three buildings had not complied with such standards. He drew a parallel with the controversy over substandard piling. Mr Lee insisted this was unfair. But legislators were not particularly reassured when the Government sought refuge in the high safety standards required under the Buildings Ordinance. As surveying representative Edward Ho was quick to point out, this is one of the many laws from which the administration is exempt. In other words, the next time a typhoon shatters windows in a badly built government building there is nothing much anyone can do about it - except take refuge from the flying glass.