Joint statement by Buildings Department and Lands Department on Tsung Tsai Yuen, Tai Po

In response to media enquiries about an unauthorised structure at Tsung Tsai Yuen, Tai Po, the Buildings Department (BD) confirmed today (May 25) that a report on suspected unauthorised building works (UBW) under construction at various lots in D.D. 33, Tsung Tsai Yuen, Tai Po Kau, N.T. was received by the Department in January 2010. After several unsuccessful attempts to enter the site, access was finally gained in September 2010 for a joint inspection by staff of the BD and Lands Department (LandsD). The inspection revealed that a reinforced concrete building three storeys in height had been newly built to replace an old single-storey building.  Associated site formation works, including newly constructed retaining walls forming an elevated garden had also been carried out.

As no prior approval or consent for the above building works had been obtained from the BD, nor any certificates of exemption granted by the LandsD, the said building works contravened the Buildings Ordinance Cap 123 (BO) and were therefore unauthorised. As the UBW were newly constructed and fell within the category for priority enforcement action in accordance with the BD's enforcement policy against UBW, the BD issued removal orders under the BO to the owners of the private lots concerned in December 2010, requiring the demolition of the subject UBW (including the unauthorised building and the associated retaining walls) within 90 days from the date of the orders.  The LandsD also issued notices under Cap 28 in December 2010 and January 2011 requiring the cessation of occupation of government land in respect of the unauthorised building and the associated retaining walls. 

As the subject UBW were not removed upon expiry of the removal orders under BO, warning letters were issued to the owners in April 2011 advising them of the BD's further enforcement actions. The owners subsequently appointed an authorised person (AP) in April 2011 to coordinate the demolition works. The AP agreed to submit a demolition proposal and programme of work to the BD for approval in early June 2011.  If the owners fail to complete the demolition works within the aforementioned programme of work without reasonable excuse, the BD will consider initiating prosecution against the owners under the BO, and arrange for a government contractor to demolish the UBW and recover the cost of works and supervision charges from the owners in accordance with the provisions of the BO. 

Any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a removal order served on him under the BO shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for one year.

Ends/Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:46