ESCALATING property prices could provoke civil disturbances among Hong Kong people frustrated that they can now no longer afford to buy a home, legislator Martin Lee Chu-ming warned yesterday. ''If you want to buy a flat which befits your station in life with your income or with your retirement pension, you can't,'' he said at a special Finance Committee meeting. His United Democrat colleague Cheung Man-kwong accused the Government of having a vested interest in keeping the prices high, since a large slice of its healthy surplus came from stamp duties of property transactions and premiums on land sales. The warning came amid news that new luxury flats in Robinson Road which came on to the market only on Monday were setting new records, now fetching between $11,000 to $13,000 per square foot. Mr Cheung said it was obvious that a handful of property developers were hoarding land and flats to make more money. But Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Tony Eason said the Government had no evidence of hoarding. ''Quite the contrary, all the pressure on my departments is to speed up land transactions, to speed the issue of occupation permits, to approve sales of flats in advance of completion and to enable developers and producers of flats to get more productionon the market as quickly as possible,'' he said. He said it would not be a good idea for the Government to interfere in the operation of the market economy in property. The volume of sale transactions leapt 21.2 per cent month-on-month in February and 49 per cent year-on-year, clearly illustrating that the ever-tightening mortgage lending policies of Hong Kong's big banks were having only limited success in suppressing activity. In all, some 13,024 sale and purchase transactions involving a total of $54.87 billion were registered with the Government last month, the great bulk of which was for flats. Mr Eason said the Government's solution to curb prices would be accelerating the availability of flats by increasing the land supply. But Mr Cheung said the Government should build more flats under its Sandwich Class Housing Scheme. Mr Lee said the Government was ''grossly wrong'' in refusing to introduce a property gains tax to bring down prices, and the Government must do something to bring the prices pendulum back to the side of the people wanting to buy a flat.