HK police dismiss media accusations of inaction by their chief over unauthorised building works

06-May-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong police have dismissed as “unfounded” accusations in a media report that the commissioner had not taken any action against unauthorised building works at a flat he had rented in 2016. In a statement on Monday, the force said the report “deviates from facts”.

Police were responding to a report by Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily that accused commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung of turning a blind eye to illegal structures on the rooftop of a flat in Kowloon Tong when he was a tenant there.

The illegal structures reportedly covered about 400 sq ft.

The police statement confirmed Tang had rented the flat in question at Boland Court, Broadcast Drive, in 2016 and was made aware of the unauthorised works after receiving notification from the Buildings Department the following year.

“Tang immediately informed the owner… and requested him to handle it,” the police statement said. But it claimed the owner did not take any action. “Tang hence moved out of the home in June 2019,” it said.

Land and company registry documents showed that the flat belonged to Dupont Company Limited, solely owned by Hong Kong businessperson Philip Hou Ching-chung. Hou could not be reached for comment.

A recent series of media reports alleged that at least three senior officers, including Tang and assistant police commissioner Rupert Dover, as well as several opposition camp politicians including Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai and People Power vice-chair Tam Tak-chi had broken land and buildings laws.

On Monday, Lands Department inspectors visited Dover’s home in Pik Shui Sun Tsuen in Sai Kung, as part of a probe into whether he and his wife had breached any housing rules, including operating a guest house without a licence.

The department has not responded to a Post inquiry.

Meanwhile, Cheng denied he had erected illegal extensions on the rooftop of the village house he rented in Wong Nai Tau in Sha Tin. “I lived there for almost 10 years and there was no illegal structure,” Cheng said. “I moved out last year and I did not know what happened afterwards, and cannot be held responsible for that either.”

Tam said he was aware a hut had been illegally built on a 100 sq ft space on the rooftop of a village house he had bought on Ting Kok Road in Tai Po in 2007. He claimed he had reported the matter to the Buildings Department but was not asked to tear down the structure immediately as officers were satisfied the works posed no immediate danger to the house.

“The rooftop structure was damaged during Typhoon Mangkhut two years ago and I did not rebuild it. So, there is nothing illegal on the rooftop now,” he said.

Chan Wai-keung, a political scientist at Polytechnic University, said the illegal structure saga had been used as a “weapon” by both political camps to attack their “enemies”.

“It is a pity that the issue has been politicised and public attention has been diverted to such brouhaha when what Hong Kong needs the most is unity to rebuild the economy hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the anti-government protests.”


Category: Hong Kong

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