Shanghai's municipal government has threatened to repossess eight undeveloped sites, including one owned by former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's family, in a bid to prevent developers hoarding land to boost prices. The Tungs' Orient Overseas (International) bought the site in Xuhui district through public tender in 2005. Stanley Shen, responsible for investor relations at OOIL said the firm had not received any notification from the city government, adding that the land fee had been fully paid. 'Our project has not got off the ground because we are still waiting for government approval of the building plan. We are not hoarding sites,' he said. He said OOIL changed the plan from a boutique hotel to serviced apartments last year and 'we had to apply for government approval again'. Shen insisted there had been no requirement for a start or completion date on the project because the site was not vacant when OOIL bought it - it housed a recreation club. Only when the club was demolished did it become a vacant plot, he said. However, the firm acknowledged that the government had the power to resume the land if the developer does not start work soon. 'Construction will begin as soon as we get the building approval,' said Shen. The other seven undeveloped sites are owned by local developers, including Shanghai Guang Zhong Stock Holdings, Shanghai Jincheng and Shanghai Jinshan. The move comes after the Shanghai government announced tougher penalties for developers hoarding land at the end of last year. Shanghai's Land and Resources Bureau picked out the eight sites after it had been widely reported in the media that there were 330 plots in the city that remain idle. Among the owners of those sites are Cheung Kong (Holdings), Hutchison Whampoa and Shui On Land. Cheung Kong issued a statement yesterday to say that the 'delayed construction work for an individual project is mainly due to a change in urban planning, postponement of related infrastructure work, the progress of the local government's resettlement of affected residents and the processing of planning approvals by local governments. 'Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa's current developments in Shanghai comply with government rules and the companies are not hoarding land for development,' it said. Shui On Land was unavailable for comment.