Lawmakers push for end of premium-free HOS-flat-purchase scheme
Yesterday, the LegCo Panel on Housing passed a non-binding motion that calls for the government to scrap a scheme that allows 5,000 white form buyers to purchase Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats with an unpaid premium. The lawmakers, some of which are in the pro-establishment camp, claimed that the scheme would push up housing prices and contribute to speculation. Secretary for Housing and Transport Anthony Cheung responded that the 5,000 buyers were only a small portion of the market, so allowing them to purchase HOS homes with an unpaid premium would not have a big effect on housing prices. He also said that it was irresponsible to call for the end of a policy that had not yet been implemented.
Union Hospital sets three measures to curb mainland “gatecrashers”
Union Hospital is one of several private hospitals that have set up rules to restrict the practice of “gatecrashing” by mainland mothers who arrive unexpectedly, assisted by agents, to give birth at the hospital. Such mainland mothers will now have to pay almost HK$300,000 for the hospital’s services. The hospital will also notify the authorities so that they can crack down on the agents. Finally, the hospital will restrict the choice of doctors that the expecting mothers can see.
Kai Tak Sports Stadium to be completed in 2019
The Home Affairs Department announced yesterday that it was looking to move as fast as possible on the construction of the Kai Tak Sports Stadium. A consultant suggested that the government adopt a Design, Build, Operate (DBO) arrangement, frequently used internationally for the construction of large projects. The consultant admitted that it would be difficult to attain cost equilibrium and suggested that a public-private partnership be used for financing. The stadium might be completed in 2019 or 2020.