Tang 'sorry' for illegal garage canopy

Top News | Phila Siu 14 Feb 2012

Chief executive hopeful Henry Tang Ying-yen apologized after admitting one of his two properties in Kowloon Tong contained an illegal structure.

Tang said yesterday the unauthorized structure at his home at No 5A York Road is a canopy above the garage.

He was responding to a newspaper report which alleged another Tang property next door at No 7 York Road contained an illegal cellar underneath the swimming pool.

Tang said that there was a garage in the basement of his family's property at No 7 at the time of purchase, and the family carried out digging works to deepen the garage for storage.

But he added it was not used as a wine cellar.

He admitted the excavation work may have been too deep and he has hired a professional to investigate. If the works are in breach of the law, Tang said he will remedy the situation.

He said No 7 York Road has been vacant for a long time.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Buildings Department said it will send staff to the scene as early as possible to investigate if there were any illegal structures built.

"I admit that [the check] was carried out a bit slowly because I had to look at the documents that are dozens of years old," Tang said.

"And after we went through them, [we found] there was an illegal structure there."

It is important for a person as well as a public officer to be responsible, Tang said, in making his apology.

In a veiled reference to rival Leung Chun-ying, Tang said a man should be prepared to "shoulder" responsibility, and anyone engaged in public service should have the "backbone" to stand up to principles, adding that he will correct problems if any are found.

The press report said Tang's public relations representative replied in October last year that "there is no cellar or any underground structure at Mr Tang's house in Kowloon Tong."

Tang said it was a miscommunication because he thought the question was about whether the property he lives in - No 5A York Road - contained an underground cellar.

He also dismissed suggestions that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen had helped him hide the facts about the illegal structure.

This is because Tsang called on government workers to conduct the checks after several officials were found to have illegal structures on their homes.

He said Tsang did not ask him to make a report after the checks were done. Meanwhile, National People's Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai agreed with Leung's demand that the government reveal all details of the West Kowloon Concept Plan Competition.

Leung made the demand after the government confirmed last week there was a conflict of interest in the competition about a decade ago.

The government said an entrant named Leung's company - DTZ Holdings - as its advisor while Leung was a jury member.

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