The government has ruled out the idea of using public money to buy the Kowloon Tong home of martial arts legend Bruce Lee despite pleas for the preservation of the building. But owner Yu Panglin's decision to announce his plans for the Cumberland Road property on Monday has lifted the hopes of Lee's fans, who want to convert the 5,699 sq ft two-storey house into a museum commemorating the screen idol. Michael Tien Puk-sun, a consultant for the Bruce Lee Club who has been in contact with the government on the issue, said he received a reply from Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma Si-hang declining the use of government money to buy the property, which is now a love hotel. 'The answer [from Mr Ma] was that the tourism angle was not a strong enough reason to use public money,' he said. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau confirmed it had explained the situation to Mr Tien. 'We have received different opinions on this issue,' a bureau spokesman said. 'Some pointed out that the house has been converted for more than 30 years and Lee's belongings have been removed. The internal structure of the place has also been altered. Therefore, its value for preservation is plausible. 'But having said that, we are still pursuing other possible options to commemorate Lee. The government recognises Lee's contribution to the local film industry.' Mr Tien said he had been advised to seek help from Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, but the reply he had received was that the project did not fall into the category of conservation. Nevertheless, Mr Yu's decision to make a public appearance on Monday has raised the hopes of Lee's fans. 'I don't know his intention but now it looks positive,' Mr Tien said. If Mr Yu were to donate the property, the government should still play the role as a middleman to manage the use of the house and monitor the tendering process, he said. Mr Yu, a billionaire philanthropist, withdrew Lee's last home from sale on Wednesday after strong pleas for its preservation. The house was one of five properties that Mr Yu had intended to sell in order to raise funds to help the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.