Press Release

 Email this articleGovernment Homepage

LCQ19: Protection of historical sites


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, in the Legislative Council today (March 5):


It has been reported that a government department has built a concrete platform and installed a temporary office over an anti-aircraft position at Wong Nai Chung Gap; while a concrete stairway has also been built at the Devil's Peak forts area. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) why a concrete platform and a concrete stairway have been built on these historical sites;

(b) what preventive measures the Government has taken to minimise the damage to these historical sites; and

(c) whether the fiscal deficit affects the measures taken by the Government to protect historical sites; if so, what the effects are?


Madam President,

At certain points of time in our history, Hong Kong was an important military outpost and battlefield, dotted with hundreds of military buildings and sites of varying scale. The most representative ones are either declared and put under the protection of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, or graded and put under close monitor by the Antiquities and Monuments Office. The two sites in question are neither declared nor graded, but are recorded for reference in devising long-term protection measures.

In the Wong Nai Chung Gap case, a temporary hoarding (not a platform) was built on the site to provide temporary storage space under a project named "reconstruction of catchwater channels on Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island" commissioned by the Water Supplies Department. The hoarding has not caused any damage to the historical structures. On completion of the work, the Water Supplies Department has removed the hoarding in end February 2003 and handed back the site to the District Lands Office. In the Devil Peak's fort case, a footpath has been in existence for many years before it was repaved in 2002 to ensure visitor's safety. In both cases, the works have not caused permanent damages to the main body of the historical structures.

Measures to protect historical sites and structures are implemented at two levels. At the legislative level, sites and structures with outstanding historical and architectural/ archaeological values are declared as monuments, and stringent statutory restrictions imposed to prohibit demolition and limit alteration. At the administrative level, the Antiquities Advisory Board has adopted a non-statutory grading system whereby historical buildings are assessed according to their heritage and architectural merits. Relevant Government departments are furnished with a list of graded buildings, and are requested to alert the Antiquities and Monuments Office if they receive proposals which may cause disturbance to the buildings. Action will then be taken to identify alternatives or mitigations, and to protect historical buildings from demolition as far as practical.

Irrespective of the fiscal deficit, we attach great importance to the protection of heritage and monuments. Earlier in this year, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has strengthened the manpower of the Antiquities and Monuments Office through redeployment of internal resources. We would continue to take appropriate measures to ensure smooth delivery of the work of protection of heritage and monuments even under resources constraints.

End/Wednesday, March 5, 2003


Email this article