More windows shatter at luxury Larvotto estate in Ap Lei Chau

Residents demand answers as problem blamed on 'glass cancer' continues at Ap Lei Chau towers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am

Windows are still falling from multimillion-dollar flats at a luxury development in Ap Lei Chau, more than 18 months after the first cases were reported.

Residents of Larvotto are demanding answers after two more windows disintegrated last week. In the latest incident yesterday, a window shattered and sprayed glass across a podium, swimming pool, driveway and public road.

Some residents have already moved out and others have threatened to do so three years after the development opened.

"It's become ridiculous," said Priscilla Cheung, who was sitting by the pool with her husband when the glass came down. "They're not doing anything. They're lucky nobody got hurt. There are so many children living here."

The problem has been blamed on so-called "glass cancer", the expansion of impurities in glass in hot weather.

Developer Cheerjoy said after the first cases in 2012 that it would replace any window found to be faulty, but ruled out a general inspection of the 715 flats, which have sold for between HK$7 million and HK$173 million.

A Cheerjoy spokeswoman said yesterday that safety was its top priority, and that an independent consultant was being called in to investigate.

Residents also say the management company is not doing enough to keep people informed.

"The police told me they were told by management it was the first time this has happened," said Thomas Jacxsens, 38, who reported the incident yesterday.

Nine or 10 panes are thought to have fallen while another 34 have cracked, according to residents, who have set up an informal network on Facebook to keep track of the problems.

In May last year, a driver barely escaped injury after a window crashed onto the car he had been in just moments earlier.

"They sweep it up quickly and keep it hush hush," said Sophie Furze, a mother of three. She said her helper and son had been directed to walk past the area where the glass fell not long after yesterday's incident. They refused to do so.

Police said there were no injuries or property damage from yesterday's incident.

The complex consists of nine towers. Flats have floor-to-ceiling windows, and each flat has up to 30 window panes.

Building manager Kerry Property Management Services could not be reached for comment.

Cheerjoy Development is a joint venture of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Kerry Properties and Paliburg Holdings. SHKP served as project manager for the development.

Kerry Properties is controlled by the Kerry Group, the controlling shareholder of the SCMP Group, which publishes the Sunday Morning Post.