SDEV speaks on unauthorised building works in New Territories Exempted Houses

Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaking to the media today (June 22) on unauthorised building works in New Territories Exempted Houses:

Reporter: Is the registration system actually letting off those low-risk illegal structures? The Heung Yee Kuk vowed to surround the Legislative Council Building next week. Would it pose a challenge to the Government?

Secretary for Development: First of all, I have to repeat what I have said. It is not a letting off. It is not an amnesty. All those unauthorised building works, where the owners come forward to register and to certify its safety by a technically competent person, is really to put them into a list where we would proceed to enforce the law at the second stage, after we have dealt with the more imminent and more serious violations of the law in terms of other unauthorised building works in the New Territories village houses. That is a very important point because in a place like Hong Kong, I do not think any one of us would condone making legal things which are originally illegal. That is a very important point.

Secondly, about the action that is being contemplated by the Heung Yee Kuk, I think Hong Kong is a very free society. We do allow people to freely express their opinion. Some of the members of the Heung Yee Kuk have said that they would urge their members to be very peaceful, and to express their opinion in a very rational manner. As far as my working relationship with the Kuk is concerned, I have to continue to pledge that I would work very closely with the Heung Yee Kuk. Because in the scheme that we have outlined, there are still a lot of details that we need to work out with the rural community, (such as) the registration system, the cut-off date and so on. And beyond this matter of unauthorised building works, I am sure you will realise that, because I am the Secretary for Development, a lot of projects and works that I am doing as the Secretary for Development touch on rural lands in the New Territories, whether it is the new development areas or the frontier closed areas. So, I think it is very important for the Administration to continue to work very closely with the Heung Yee Kuk and the rural community.

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

Ends/Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:46