Poor Henry Tang – can’t catch a break. He wanted to seal off his illegal basement structure with a brick wall. That won’t go. And in other property news – it’s hard to eliminate subdivided flats in the expensive city. Here’s what’s making news in today’s Cantonese Press.
Buildings Department rejects Tang’s illegal structure solution
Yesterday, Director of Buildings Au Choi-kai said that the Buildings Department cannot accept the use of brick walls to seal off illegal structures, thereby rejecting an application by losing Chief Executive candidate Henry Tang to seal off his illegal basement using this method. Au’s statement also implied that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s use of a brick wall to seal off his own basement in November 2011 was also not acceptable to the department. In response to some legislators’ accusations that the Buildings Department was using a double standard, Au said that there was not enough evidence to indicate that Leung had given false information. Therefore, the department had not conducted an investigation like it had in the case of Tang. Au said that conducting investigations for every case would be a waste of public money.
Yau Shing-mu says some subdivided flats might stay
Yesterday, the LegCo Panel on Housing passed a non-binding motion requesting that the government disclose the number of subdivided houses in Hong Kong and work towards eliminating subdivided units in the future. However, Undersecretary of Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu expressed that the government would not eliminate such housing but would work towards ensuring that subdivided units were safe. He also noted that some residents of subdivided units prefer living in subdivided units in central locations rather than living in public housing in non-central locations. Some legislators criticized Yau’s remarks and suggested that the government secretly wished to allow subdivided flats to remain in existence.
Bokhary says he has confidence in the court’s actions on legal interpretations
Yesterday, Kemal Bokhary, a former permanent judge of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, told a lunch meeting at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club that it was up to the court to stand up and to push back against threats to the rule of law. He was referring to a comment that he previously made regarding his belief that Hong Kong’s rule of law was under threat, a comment that has taken on additional significance following the Justice Department’s recommendation that the Court of Final Appeal ask the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for a legal interpretation on the right of abode of mainland citizens in Hong Kong. In response to Bokhary’s latest remarks, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuan said that the government respects the rule of law and has acted appropriately.