Concern over possible abuse of the lowest-bid system in selecting government contractors was raised by legislator Lau Ping-cheung last February, when he cited the case of a $1 bid. The engineering consultancy firm of Binnie Black and Veatch Hong Kong last January beat seven competitors to win a Territory Development Department contract with a $1 bid. The original estimate for the cost of the work was $200,000 to $300,000. Mr Lau, who is also a member of the City University's council, said last week that a recent row over a student hostel project also provided evidence of flaws in the tendering system. He said the university council had not wanted to award the project to the lowest bidder but the Architectural Services Department insisted the job should be awarded to that contractor. The bidder - Japanese construction firm Aoki - went bankrupt in December and the project was put up for tender again.