The Foreign Ministry commissioner in Hong Kong, defending the acquisition of a prime Mid-Levels location for a token HK$1,000, said yesterday the ministry followed procedures in applying for a site for expansion. Lu Xinhua said it was the 'culture of Hong Kong' that a small thing triggered a controversy. He said the site was an asset offered to the central government and that he was not embarrassed by the incident. The Hong Kong government said on Wednesday that a 2,100-square-metre site in Borrett Road - next to the foreign commissioner's office in Kennedy Road - would be granted to the ministry for HK$1,000 until 2047. The site is zoned for government use. That sum is roughly the same as what the government asked of foreign consulates when they took over central areas they currently occupy. In a letter to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on Thursday, Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said no one deserved special treatment, especially when the lack of affordable land forced people to pay high prices for their homes. Lu said on the sidelines of the Boao Youth Forum, which was held in Hong Kong yesterday, that the commissioner's office lodged an application with the Hong Kong government two years ago for the site in Borrett Road for building a home for the commissioner. 'The site is an asset offered to the central government. It will not be owned by the commissioner himself,' he said. A proposed building on the site will include a new residence for the commissioner, who will move from the top floor of the ministry's current home in Kennedy Road. An office block will also be built on the site. The HK$1 billion Office of the Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry in Kennedy Road was a gift to Beijing from tycoon Li Ka-shing. It started operation in July 1997. Lau said it was unacceptable for Hong Kong's government to unilaterally make such a decision without consulting the public. Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan is demanding to know how the HK$1,000 figure was set.