The owner of the defaced King Yin Lei mansion has offered to pay to restore it, in a surprise move communicated to the government by his architect. The offer is disclosed in a paper to be discussed by the Antiquities Advisory Board today - a month after workers began destroying the 71-year-old building's unique features and three weeks after the government declared it a proposed monument, halting the work. The government would save at least HK$10 million in restoration costs if the owner, never officially identified, keeps his word. Conservationists welcomed the news, although some feared taxpayers could end up footing the bill. In the paper, the Development Bureau says the government has made initial contacts with the lawyer and architect representing the owner. While the lawyer had sought information on the grounds for declaring the building a proposed monument, the architect had recently indicated in writing the owner's willingness to restore the building to its previous form at his own cost, it said. It added that the owner was seeking help from the government and its experts on the restoration work. The bureau said the mansion's former owner, Stephen Yow Mok-shing, and his architect, Philip Liao Yi-kang, were willing to provide advice on restoration options. The government did not comment on why the owner, who quietly defaced the mansion last month in what appeared at the time to be an effort to destroy its heritage value and clear the way for redevelopment, had changed his mind. Mr Liao, who conducted an on-site survey before the mansion in Stubbs Road, Mid-Levels, was defaced, welcomed the news yesterday. He said the destroyed decorative items could be remade on the mainland. 'The first step is to duplicate the tiles and window frames according to photos and records,' he said.