One in 11 of Hong Kong's historic buildings have been torn down since 1980, official figures released for the first time show. The figures prompted conservationists to warn of a continuing lack of protection for the city's heritage. They appealed to the government to announce a comprehensive heritage policy as soon as possible. The Antiquities Advisory Board revealed that 54 out of 607 buildings it had listed since it was set up in 1980 have been demolished. There are now 496 graded historic buildings and 81 declared monuments. Graded sites have no legal protection and a monument may be knocked down with the chief executive's agreement. The 54 demolished sites include five grade-one, 23 grade-two and 26 grade-three buildings. Nearly half were government or public buildings, some well known, such as the former HSBC headquarters, La Salle College in Kowloon Tong and the General Post Office in Central. A senior government source said only a few had been lost since the handover. Chan Wai-kwan, a former Antiquities Advisory Board member, said: 'The list is a sad reminder of what this city has lost. It underscores how limited the board's role has been in preserving heritage. 'There is simply no available tool for the [board] to help conserve them. The only weapon for the [board] is to recommend the government declare a building as a monument, but you cannot seriously expect every graded building to be recommended. 'Elsewhere there are proven mechanisms to save historic buildings, such as transferring development rights, but these tools are simply not available here ... What is badly needed now is commensurate progress in heritage policy.' Albert Lai Kwong-tak, of the Conservancy Association, said a number of graded buildings were threatened and there was an urgent need for a policy to stop more being torn down. The government is planning to dismantle and relocate Queen's Pier in Central, while developer Chinese Estates wants to replace Wan Chai Market with high-rise homes. A senior government source said every effort would be made to protect historic public sites. 'Most of these sites were knocked down in the 1980s and 1990s. It will be difficult to demolish any graded building now.' The new Development Bureau was working on a heritage conservation policy, the source added. 'We understand the concerns and the lack of tools in conservation. The new policy will address such issues. The key problem remains how to keep those historic sites that are in private hands, since buying them out would involve a lot of public funds.'