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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, today (May 16) on unauthorised building works in New Territories Exempted Houses:

Reporter: Heung Yee Kuk has postponed the protest. Are you leaving this whole mess to the next administration?

Secretary for Development: First of all, this is not a mess. This is enforcement of the law in a fair, justified and equitable manner. I think it has the broad-based support of society, so I am not leaving behind any mess. But what we have reached at this point in time is a much more solid basis for us to take forward the enforcement work. Because as I have said, since April this year, we have already got on with our work, and I have repeatedly emphasised that there is a very clear and solid legal basis for the enforcement work that we are now undertaking. But in the process, of course, given the scale of the problem, we have to be very pragmatic. So we have designed this reporting scheme for villagers to come forward and report to us various unauthorised building works which could be tolerated for a while. So this latest position adopted by Heung Yee Kuk is very much welcomed, because this is really not the time for more confrontation and protest, but really to work with the Government to ensure that our enforcement work will be taken forward as we have planned.

Reporter: You say that you have solid basis. But it will look to some people that if these people just protest enough, they will keep getting benefits, they will keep their illegal rights.

Secretary for Development: No, they are not getting any special treatment by contemplating this protest. What I have been telling you is I have sent them a letter merely to clarify some misunderstanding and some unnecessary anxiety about the enforcement work. We have adhered strictly to the policy that I elucidated a few months ago and which has been put in practice on April 1. So, if there is any lesson to be learnt, it is this one. The lesson is that as long as the Government is acting in accordance with the law and in a fair and equitable manner, we are not going to be deterred by threats or protest actions. We will do whatever is right for Hong Kong.

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

Ends/Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:08


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