Transcript of SDEV's media session

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session this afternoon (August 10):

Reporter: Can you repeat your statement in English please?

Secretary for Development: Basically, I sought to clarify the previous few statements that I have made in relation to the properties in Shanghai Street and Tai Kok Tsui. In the first statement, I said I had no knowledge about it (the sub-divided flats in the properties). That was directed towards the situation then. When I issued the statement last Sunday (August 5), I brought out the fact that the property in Tai Kok Tsui was bought with tenancy. However, the sub-divided units at that time were very different from what we see these days. The company (Harvest Charm Development Limited) was set up in 1994. I resigned (my directorship) in October 1997. Thereafter, I didn't follow up on the tenancy matters of the company. Take the Shanghai Street property as an example. When it was bought, it was bought with vacant possession. I have no knowledge about the subsequent development.

Secondly, about the property investment activities of my family members, basically these activities were undertaken mainly in the 1990s. Since 2005, my family member hasn't bought any Hong Kong properties. I also mentioned that in the past 10-some years, I have increased my time and energy on serving the community. And as such, the assets have for a long time been under the management of my wife and are also owned by my wife.

As to the future, I hope you can understand that my wife, being a chartered secretary, a professional of her own rights, has her own work and her own investment. But despite this, she has promised to dispose of the entire shareholding in companies holding old buildings. And she has, along with me, made a commitment that in the future, during the term of my office as the Secretary for Development, apart from own usage, we would not get ourselves involved in the Hong Kong property market.

Reporter: Your public image has already been damaged. What confidence can we have that it is the complete story ...?

Secretary for Development: Well, I have, to the best of my ability, answered questions and enquiries put to me. In the future, as I have mentioned earlier, my wife has undertaken to sell her entire shareholdings in companies holding old buildings. My wife and I also undertake that in the future, during my term as the Secretary for Development, except for personal usage, we would not get ourselves involved in Hong Kong's property market.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, August 10, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:35