SDEV speaks to the media on safety in industrial buildings

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session after attending a radio programme today (July 30):

Reporter: Mr Chan, do you see any improvement in the industrial building situation? You have talked about that there may be a possibility that operating sub-divided flats in industrial buildings can actually be criminalised? Can you talk a little bit more on that?

Secretary for Development: We are tackling the issue of sub-divided flats in industrial buildings. We are considering a number of initiatives. First of all, as you said, criminalise such activities. Secondly, we are also looking at how we can strengthen the enforcement actions. For example, previously when our colleagues in the Buildings Department went to inspect these buildings, they encountered problems because the owners or tenants were uncooperative. So they could not gain entry into these premises. In such circumstances, they could not institute prosecutions. We are considering delegating the authority of gaining entry into such premises to the Buildings Department staff of certain ranks, so that this can be enforced more speedily. We are also looking into the issue of making the directors of those companies operating sub-divided flats to be responsible for those inappropriate or illegal acts. Under the current legislation, the offender is liable to a fine of maximum $200,000, depending on the nature of offence, and an imprisonment of up to a year plus a daily fine. But for those who hide behind a corporate vehicle, they may be able to get away from such criminal sanctions. What we are looking at is how to make these people personally liable for such activities.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, July 30, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:36