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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 13) on unauthorised building works in New Territories Exempted Houses:

Reporter: Will there be social turmoil if there is across-the-board prosecution and enforcement action?

Secretary for Development: I don't think we have suggested across-the-board. You have heard me say that we are adopting a pragmatic approach, given the large volume of unauthorised building works in the New Territories village houses. We will first of all differentiate the various categories. There is one category of so-called unauthorised works in the past, which are of very small scale, which are perhaps the daily necessities and amenities of people living in these village houses. So these items will be allowed to stay, in the same way that we do allow some minor household items to stay in the urbanised areas. It is not across-the-board prosecution or enforcement action.

Reporter: Will glass houses be exempted?

Secretary for Development: I have already outlined that there is a certain category of amenities, small scale items, which will be allowed to stay. There is a list of very serious breaches, like additional floors on village houses, for which we will now proceed to enforcement. Of course there will be in between. There will be unauthorised works in between and they probably will fall under what I call an orderly prosecution process. Because given the large number of unauthorised building works as we have seen in the urbanised areas, we could not at the same time tackle all the unauthorised building works. So in the last 10 years, in the urbanised areas, we have a lot of what we call non-actionable items, in other words, they are pre-existing rooftop houses, but they do not pose imminent danger. In the past, in the urbanised areas, they were sort of tolerated, what we call non-actionable. It is only from April this year that these items also became actionable in the urbanised areas. So what we are doing is exactly replicating that strategy of being very pragmatic. In the New Territories, the first priority will be to tackle those very serious breaches of the law, such as additional floors, excessive sizes, or maybe on top of an unauthorised work they do another unauthorised work. These are some of the imminent areas that we will tackle. But for the in-between areas, which we have to work on in greater detail, we will perhaps have to put them to a second stage of enforcement.

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

Ends/Monday, June 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:23


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