SDEV speaks about the Fa Yuen Street fire

Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session today (December 3) after visiting the scene of the No. 4 alarm fire at Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok:

Reporter: What have you noticed and how will the Government solve the problem?

Secretary for Development: Over the last two years, we have spared no efforts in tackling this phenomenon of sub-divided flats. So we have legislation in place to enhance the power of the Buildings Department to tackle sub-divided flats, for example, by allowing us to apply to court for warrants to enter these units in order to ascertain whether they have sub-divided flats. Because based on my experience, this time and last time at Ma Tau Wai Road, it is not obvious for Buildings Department, without gaining entry into the domestic units, to discover that there is sub-division of flats going on. As an immediate issue, upon discussion with the Director of Buildings, we are now adjusting our current large-scale operation against sub-divided flats this year. In the coming six months, we will conduct a risk-based large-scale operation against sub-divided flats in Hong Kong. Basically where buildings have this sort of hawker stalls in front of them, and the buildings belong to the category where they have two staircases, they are belonging to the old type of tenement buildings normally built before 1980, then we will cover all these buildings in our special operation and take enforcement action as vigorously as we could. We now estimate, having checked the records with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, that there are now 334 such buildings located in Kowloon City, Wan Chai, Eastern, Central and Western, etc. We will immediately undertake that stepped-up enforcement action.

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

Ends/Saturday, December 3, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:07