Wharf Holdings Ltd

Investor attacks developer over Peak 'lies'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2006, 12:00am


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A property investor who claims a listed developer lied to entice him to buy two flats at The Peak worth $84.3 million took his complaint to the Consumer Council, government and legislature yesterday.

Wu Chi-choi said he had paid $8.9 million in deposits between June and December for two apartments at No1 Plantation Road - a 48-unit Wharf Group development - through agents Hong Kong Property and senior executives from the Wharf Group.

He claimed Wharf director Ricky Wong Kwong-yiu had told him that four flats in the development had been sold at prices of more than $20,000 per square foot. However, Mr Wu's lawyer subsequently checked the land registry and found only two transactions - Wu's - were recorded.

'I hope the government will censure developers who release misleading information to push up prices,' Mr Wu said.

A spokeswoman for Wharf company Wheelock Properties yesterday said that in June 2005 two transactions were made and buyers reserved a further three flats in the block, though their transactions had not gone through at that stage. She admitted that in the same month, a company press release had said four flats there had been sold.

Hong Kong Property said it was investigating the case, and declined to comment.

The properties are now estimated to be worth about $24,000 per square foot.

Mr Wu is demanding the developer reimburse 80 per cent of his deposits, and has rejected the company's offer to pay half.

Yesterday, Mr Wu and representatives of a property owners' concern group, Hong Kong Owners Club, handed in petitions at government headquarters, the Legislative Council and the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau. They also took the case to the Consumer Council, which will investigate.

'It's time for the government to tighten control over developers' false claims and information. We are using our life savings to buy a home for our families,' club chairman Shea Hing-wan said.

But Patrick Lau Sau-shing, chairman of Legco's housing panel, said: 'Buyers should take [developers'] remarks with a pinch of salt.'

A bureau spokesman said legislation against property misrepresentation was in place.