BD's response to enquiries concerning 4/F, 136 Shanghai Street and Flat A4, Hoi Hing Building, Tai Kok Tsui
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - In response to media reports on Wednesday (August 1) on suspected unauthorised building works (UBWs) in sub-divided flats at 4/F, 136 Shanghai Street and Flat A4, Hoi Hing Building, Tai Kok Tsui, a spokesman for the Buildings Department (BD) said today (August 2) that as, according to the media reports, the cases involved a family member of the Secretary for Development, it is following the established procedures concerned and has accorded priority to following up on the cases.
The spokesman said, "The BD all along handles the problem of UBWs in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) (BO) and the prevailing enforcement policy, and follows the principle of impartiality. For cases reported by members of the public or by the media involving senior government officials and community celebrities, the BD has established a procedure for according priority to arranging site inspections for such cases, with the objective of clearing any public concerns as soon as possible.
After the site inspection, the BD will take appropriate action in accordance with the BO and the prevailing enforcement policy against UBWs in an impartial manner. The BD would not make any special arrangements because of the identity of the owner concerned when carrying out enforcement action."
The spokesman added, "As a law enforcement department, the Buildings Department is responsible for inspection and enforcement work. It will report to the Development Bureau on the overall situation of such cases, and the Development Bureau would not give any direction regarding its enforcement work.
As the cases involve a family member of the Secretary for Development, the Buildings Department would not report the situation regarding them to the Secretary for Development."
On the day when the media first reported on the cases (August 1), the BD immediately examined the approved building plans and other records of the premises concerned and deployed staff to inspect the premises concerned that afternoon. As they could not gain access to the inside of the premises for inspection, the BD staff followed the established procedure and left their contact details to ask the owner or occupants to arrange with BD staff for an inspection as soon as possible. The BD has also tried to contact the people concerned via other channels such as the ownership records in the Land Registry.
BD staff visited the Shanghai Street premises again this morning for inspection but they still could not gain access. Later on today, the BD succeeded in contacting the person involved and arrangements were made for BD staff to inspect the premises concerned in the afternoon today. The department will examine the inspection results in detail and carry out assessment before deciding on the appropriate action to take in accordance with the BO and the prevailing enforcement policy against UBWs.
The spokesman said that the building safety problem arising from UBWs, including those that could be associated with sub-divided flats, has all along been high on the BD's agenda.
The BD is taking proactive action to inspect suspected sub-divided flats to ascertain whether or not the alteration and addition works involved are in compliance with the building standards stipulated under the BO and its regulations, particularly those standards relating to fire safety, drainage works and structural safety, and will take appropriate action to protect public safety.
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