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Transcript of remarks by STH

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, at a media session today (April 15) on the construction works of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at the West Wing lobby, Central Government Offices, Tamar:

Secretary for Transport and Housing: You are aware that the Government has entrusted the construction of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong Section to the Mass Transit (Railway) (MTR) Corporation Limited. The construction work started in January 2010. Late last year on November 22, when the Government made its regular report on the express rail project to the railways subcommittee (Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways) of the LegCo (Legislative Council), based on the information supplied by the Corporation, we informed the LegCo that our objective remained to have the construction works completed in 2015. Following which there will be a period of six to nine months for testing and trial runs. And after that, of course, the rail service will be commissioned. However, over the last weekend, I was informed by the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of the MTR Corporation that based on the latest assessment of the progress of the construction works, the project will be subject to some delay. And it will not be possible for the works to be completed in 2015.

     I have to say I was totally caught by surprise by such information, and obviously I felt very disappointed and deeply concerned about the delay. So I've asked the Corporation to provide me with a full assessment report on the progress of the construction work as soon as possible. The Corporation is also asked to explain the situation to the public as soon as possible.

     I understand that the Corporation will be holding a media conference this afternoon. Separately, I've asked the Director of Highways to conduct an independent review and assessment of the project progress. We are aiming to make a report to the railways subcommittee of the LegCo at its meeting early next month on May 2.

Reporter: Any legal consequences for the MTRCL? Is it going to cost much more?

Secretary for Transport and Housing: At the moment I'm still awaiting a full assessment report from the MTR Corporation. Of course various questions will be asked including the question that you've raised. But at this stage I don't think I can be more specific on the matter. I understand the Corporation will be holding a press conference later on to explain the situation.

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

Ends/Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:40


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