Unannounced work to remove rooftop tiles on a rare Chinese-style mansion has sparked concerns from conservationists that the 71-year-old house might soon be pulled down. The move came to light two months after reports that the house, King Yin Lei, had been sold for HK$450 million, which its owner, businessman Stephen Yow Mok-shing, refused to verify. King Yin Lei, on Stubbs Road in Mid-Levels, overlooking the Happy Valley racecourse and Victoria Harbour, is one of the city's oldest and best-preserved mixed-style private residences. However, it has not been included in a government list of historical buildings. Conservationists, who have been campaigning for preservation of the building, noticed that workers were removing green tiles from the mansion's rooftop. They are worried that the heritage value of the mansion would be damaged by the work, which they fear might be under way to pave the way for demolition. The Buildings Department said yesterday no application for alteration or demolition work had been submitted. Yesterday, much of the work area was covered by green canvas and about five security guards were patrolling the site. The chairwoman of the Conservancy Association, Betty Ho Siu-fong, said: 'It will be a sad moment if the mansion is really to be pulled down.' Ms Ho said the owner should have notified the relevant departments even for renovation work because of the special heritage value of the site. 'Even if only the tiles are removed, we do not know if they will be put back onto the rooftop. If they are not, it could damage the building's heritage value.' Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of the Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development, said the government should immediately declare the mansion a provisional monument to prevent it from suffering further damage. Cheng Lai-king, Central and Western District councillor, said the government had not done a good job in monitoring buildings with historical value in the city. She said: 'The mansion should have been declared a monument a few years ago. But the government did not do it and now the mansion is prone to suffer damage.'