Following is a question by the Dr Hon Yeung Sum and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (January 16):
Will the Government inform this Council:
(a) each year from 2005 to the first 10 months of 2007, of the number of unauthorised building works ("UBWs") newly erected, and the number of new UBWs among the UBWs removed;
(b) among the cases in which removal orders were issued during the above period, of the number of cases each year in which the owners concerned removed the UBWs in question on their own before the specified deadlines; regarding the cases of non-compliance of the removal orders, of the respective numbers of cases in which prosecution or no prosecution has been brought against the owners concerned, and the number of convicted cases and the penalties imposed;
(c) among the cases in which warning notices were issued during the above period, of the respective numbers of cases each year in which the owners concerned removed the UBWs in question on their own before the specified deadlines and those cases in which the Buildings Department ("BD") registered the warning notices against the title of the subject premises in the Land Registry ("LR"), and the current number of the latter cases; and
(d) given that currently, members of the public are not able to check, free of charge, from LR's web page if there is a record of the above registration of a warning notice against the title of a particular premises or unit, whether the authorities will consider providing such additional service to allow members of the public to check from that web page, free of charge, such records and the list of the 1 000 target buildings identified for BD's annual large-scale operation to remove UBWs?
The Buildings Department (BD) is committed to tackling unauthorised building works (UBWs) in private buildings in Hong Kong, and adopts a multi-pronged approach to reduce the number of UBWs, including the removal of dangerous and new UBWs; selecting target buildings for annual large-scale operations to remove UBWs on external walls; and enhancing public awareness of the problems and risks of UBWs and owners' responsibilities to ensure building safety through publicity and education programmes.
The reply to the four-part question is as follows:
(a) As the number of UBWs in Hong Kong is large, the BD does not have the exact annual statistics of new UBWs. In the past three years, there were on average over 1 000 new UBWs removed by the BD annually. The numbers of UBWs (including new UBWs) removed in 2005, 2006 and the first 10 months of 2007 in BD's enforcement actions are shown in Annex 1.
(b) The BD will initiate prosecution against an owner if he fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the removal order issued by the BD on or before the specified deadline. He is, on conviction, liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $200 000 and imprisonment for one year, and to a further fine of $20 000 for every day during which the offence continues. The numbers of removal orders issued and prosecutions initiated by the BD in 2005, 2006 and the first 10 months of 2007 are shown in Annex 2.
(c) As for the types of UBWs which do not belong to the category of priority demolition, the BD will issue warning notices (WNs) to owners as appropriate. The numbers of WNs issued by the BD against UBWs in 2005, 2006 and the first 10 months of 2007 are shown in Annex 3.
(d) Flat owners or the owners' corporation of the UBWs concerned will receive the original copies of the WNs issued by the BD. A copy of the WNs will also be sent to the Land Registry (LR) for registration. Members of the public can, through the counter or online search service of the LR and upon payment of a fee of $10 per search, obtain the land record of an individual flat and check whether there is any WN concerning UBWs registered against the flat. The BD does not provide through the internet the list of target buildings in the annual large-scale removal operations.
Ends/Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Issued at HKT 15:27