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LandsD follows up on AD's land purchase and reiterates no favouritism in handling redevelopment application

In response to public concern arising from the purchase of land in Yuen Long and application for redevelopment of New Territories exempted houses on the purchased land by an Assistant Director of the Lands Department (LandsD) earlier, a spokesman for LandsD said today (September 5) that the department is now following up on the following three aspects:

(i) To review whether or not the officer concerned has violated any government rules in the process of land purchase and application for redevelopment of New Territories exempted houses, including whether the case involves the improper use of internal information. This aspect of work is to follow up on complaints against the officer concerned for having allegedly violated relevant regulations. LandsD is investigating the case in accordance with established procedures, and will take appropriate action in accordance with the civil service disciplinary mechanism if irregularities are detected.

(ii) To review whether the department has properly followed up on the officer's declarations on the purchase of land. This aspect of work is to follow up on complaints received by the department earlier. Since the Director of Lands was personally involved in handling the declarations, she will, to ensure a fair and impartial review, submit a report to the department's housekeeping bureau (i.e. the Development Bureau) to explain how the department has handled the declarations received and its considerations.

(iii) To review the existing declaration requirements and relevant guidelines applicable to staff of LandsD on investments. This aspect of work is to focus on the overall declaration arrangements rather than individual cases. LandsD will revert to the Panel on Development of the Legislative Council upon completion of the review.

LandsD has commenced the above three aspects of work, and the reports are expected to be completed progressively in the next few months.

As the follow up action mentioned under (i) and (ii) involve internal investigations, it is not appropriate for LandsD to disclose details to pay due regard to the investigation system and ensure that the investigation would be conducted in an objective and impartial manner.

In response to media enquiries on the duty arrangement of the Assistant Director, LandsD revealed that the officer, who is now on leave, will assume a new post in mid-September and will be responsible for the districts of Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing, and Sha Tin. The new post will not involve land administration of Yuen Long District. The officer will continue to be subject to the instructions given by LandsD requiring her to refrain from taking part in discussions or decisions on any government actions or recommendations related to the land owned by her in Yuen Long.

Regarding the redevelopment application made by the officer concerned on the "house" portion of her land in Yuen Long for building New Territories exempted houses, LandsD reiterated that the department had not given favour to any individual application. The application, including the permissible scale of development, is still subject to LandsD's approval even though the planning application has been approved. LandsD will handle the application in accordance with established mechanism in a fair and impartial manner, and ensure that the applicant's direct subordinates will not be required to make decisions concerning the application.
Ends/Friday, September 5, 2014
Issued at HKT 23:59