M+ Museum subcontractors seek HK$70m in dues from arts hub

Local | 1 Nov 2018 2:16 pm

Seven subcontractors involved in the construction of the M+ museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District say they are owed about HK$70 million between them, despite arts hub management paying some companies directly to keep the project going.

Over the summer, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) revealed it had been forced to cancel a HK$5.9 billion contract with the firm tasked with building the museum, Hsin Chong Construction, because the company was having financial difficulties, RTHK reports.

The WKCDA confirmed reports that it had been paying some subcontractors out of its own pocket, to the tune of around HK$1.7 billion by early September.

But today, a number of subcontractors working on the project complained that the authority had only offered them part of the fees they are owed, and only if they sign away their right to pursue litigation.

Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan Suk-chong, who is assisting the subcontractors, said she was shocked by the authority's approach.

"Their offer is definitely unfair because we are talking about probably 10 to 20 percent of the sum owed by either Hsin Chong or the authority. But then the authority offers such a payment for a full and final settlement," Chan said.

"What the subcontractors understand is that only the big subcontractors can receive direct payments from the authority, not the small ones."

In August, Hsin Chong Group denied that its subsidiary Hsin Chong Construction was insolvent and said there was no reason for the WKCDA to cancel its contract for the museum.

The following month, Hsin Chong wrote to lawmakers telling them it was not responsible for delays to the project which now mean M+ is not expected to open until 2020, a year later then previously announced.-Photo RTHK

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