Transcript of remarks by CS at media session (with photo/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session after inspecting an industrial building planned for wholesale conversion in Kwai Chung this afternoon (September 7):

Reporter: Mrs Lam, are you very confident the industrial building owners are very interested in this programme and do you consider it a long-term or short-term measure to tackle the housing problem?

Chief Secretary for Administration: Now, this is not a so-called long-term measure. The long-term solution to our housing demand lies in land supply, so we are sparing no efforts in trying to increase land supply through various means. But that would take time, that would take time. Meanwhile, it is our intention to optimise the use of existing land and the existing properties, so industrial building stock is one of those major sources of existing premises, because in Hong Kong - you have heard me say this many times - we have a total of 1,400 private flatted factory buildings. The total GFA of these buildings is over 17 million square metres, even more than total office supply. So if we could find a means to revitalise this industrial building stock into residential use, that will be a relief in the short to medium term, not on a long-term basis, because in the long term I'm sure the industrial building owners would like to demolish the industrial building and redevelop into a brand new office, commercial or residential building. But meanwhile, if you look at this building, it is in very good shape. It would perhaps be a waste to knock it down now, so to give it a transitional use to provide more housing units in Hong Kong is something that I think is in the best interests of Hong Kong.

As regards your question about interest, in terms of volume we do have a lot of potential interest because of the number of buildings I have quoted. But in terms of actual interest, much depends on how many of these buildings are single-owned, because if they are in multiple ownership it would be very difficult because they need to acquire all the units before they can come forward for wholesale conversion. But I can tell you that apart from Mr Li, there have been a few industrial building owners who have already approached me about this idea when they heard the Chief Executive mentioning about this initiative last week.

Reporter: Mrs Lam, the Chief Executive today said he is willing to ... so would you yourself advise the Chief Executive to go to the square outside the Government Headquarters to talk to the students and show sincerity and rebuild ... ?

Chief Secretary for Administration: Well, we always want to communicate with everybody involved. I think right now the Chief Executive is really seriously thinking about in what way he could convey that sincerity to communicate with various stakeholders, including the student groups. If the communication should take place at my level, with my personal involvement, I am very ready to do that. As you all know, I am always an advocate for communication.

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

Ends/Friday, September 7, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:34