Decision expected today on reit's listing after crisis talks A judge last night threw out a new legal challenge to the government's beleaguered Link Reit listing by a disgruntled investor, who sought urgent leave to apply for a judicial review and the return of her money. The latest lawsuit came as government officials and the reit's underwriters held another crisis meeting at the Central Government Offices to discuss the future of the listing. A decision will be announced today. The talks followed a Court of Final Appeal ruling on Friday giving a government housing tenant 28 days to continue her fight against the listing. Last night's action was brought in the Court of First Instance by Ho Man-kay, who has been allotted 1,500 shares in the Link Real Estate Investment Trust (reit). Mr Justice Michael Hartmann ruled her application covered a private, civil matter. He said the case did not concern the public interest and investors who wanted compensation should raise the issue with the Link Reit. The proceedings began at 6.15 pm and were over in 30 minutes. Ms Ho was seeking a declaration that the Housing Authority's decision to sell off the assets through the reit listing did not comply with sections 4 and 17A of the Housing Ordinance and an order for the immediate return of $109,398.01 with interest. Her lawyers said last night they would consider the judgment before deciding whether to lodge an appeal. A written judgment will be delivered later. Daniel Fung Wah-kin, senior counsel representing the Housing Authority, said after the ruling that he was 'very grateful' the judge confirmed the legality of the authority selling off its commercial assets through the reit. 'The main concern at present is whether the Housing Authority has the legal basis for the listing ... this is the third time the court has said there's no doubt about it,' Mr Fung said. However, academics and legal experts last night called on the government to halt the listing plan, warning of a flood of legal challenges if the Housing Authority pressed ahead tomorrow. Uncertainty over the listing mounted on Friday after the Court of Final Appeal confirmed the right of public housing tenant Lo Siu-lan, 67, to take 28 days to launch her appeal against a lower court's decision upholding the authority's right to privatise assets. Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said yesterday the market was 'quite negative' about the listing plan, as there were many uncertainties. He also said the incident was 'more or less a stain [on Hong Kong] ... and had become an after-dinner joke' to outsiders, although he insisted the city's status as an international financial centre would not be affected by it. He acknowledged there were 'material differences' between the Link's offering circular and the latest situation, as the circular did not mention the possibility of legal challenges. Mr Tang also said he was very disappointed the matter had become so politicised. He said some people 'have made use of Hong Kong people's respect for the rule of law' to delay the listing plan. Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said: 'We've undergone two challenges in court, in which the court found that there's no problem, but because the case hasn't been resolved in the Court of Final Appeal in time, there're still some uncertainties legally.' Asked whether the listing plan had to be delayed, Mr Suen said: 'I think it hasn't got to this stage.' A top mainland official also entered the controversy. Chen Zuoer, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said: '[Hong Kong people] should preserve the city's status as an international financial, trading and transport hub. 'It's like protecting their eyes. It's the duty of everyone.' Last night, Raymond So Wai-man, associate professor of Chinese University's department of finance, called on the government to halt the reit listing to avoid the possibility of a large number of lawsuits. He said the failure of the circular to mention the possibility of lawsuits was already sufficient ground for investors seeking compensation.