The government last week almost flattened a house in a remote village proposed for grading as a historic building, in an apparent mistake. Workers from the Lands Department’s squatter control office removed almost all the windows and doors and knocked down part of the wall of the former explosives storeroom inside of the forgotten Ma On Shan iron mine complex, according to RTHK. The mine began life in 1906, and was operated by the Hong Kong Iron Mining Company. It expanded rapidly in 1949 when it was taken over by the Mutual Mining and Trade Company, which extended it underground. In its heyday, miners dug up 98,000 tonnes of iron ore annually, but it closed down in 1976. Hong Kong’s ICAC drops misconduct investigation into Lands Department official A man surnamed Lam had lived in the single-storey former storeroom for more than 20 years with the villagers’ consent. On March 7, the department sent Lam a demolition order, claiming he had been illegally occupying the structure on government land. On the same day, a month-long public consultation started on how to list the iron mine complex and nearby village. The explosives storeroom was proposed to be listed as a grade III historic building. After being away from home for medical treatment, Lam returned home to find the windows, doors and belongings removed. Debris from the wall was all over the floor. A department spokesman admitted on Sunday that it had removed the windows and doors, which were not original parts of the building. Hong Kong Lands Department accused of ‘unfair’ recruitment, disregarding applicants from outside civil service The removal work started after officers knocked, and got no response from inside. But they stopped the demolition after seeing that more of the structure’s original form remained. But it did not say whether it was told about the site’s historic status. It said it would speak to the those involved before future demolitions. The Antiquities Advisory Board will meet on Monday to discuss the grading of the iron mine complex. Board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo said the damage to the storeroom should have been avoided under usual procedures, but damages of such scale might not affect the discussion of its grading.