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Finance company convicted by court for offence of unlawful alienations of HOS flat

     A spokesman for the Housing Department (HD) today (September 6) reminded owners of subsidised housing to observe and strictly comply with the alienation restriction stipulated in the Housing Ordinance in the refinancing of flats.

     The HD spares no efforts in combating abuses of subsidised housing. Recently, an owner of a Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flat and a finance company have been prosecuted for the offence of unlawful alienations. On September 2, the finance company concerned was convicted by court. As for the HOS flat owner, the proceedings are still in progress.

     In the case, the owners of an HOS flat at Hong Pak Court in Lam Tin charged the flat to the finance company by way of loan agreement, without paying a premium to the Housing Authority or obtaining prior approval from the Director of Housing, contrary to the Housing Ordinance. Several days of trial hearings were held in Kwun Tong Magistrates' Court from April to July 2015. In the verdict heard on September 2, the presiding magistrate pointed out that the offence under section 27A of the Housing Ordinance is an absolute liability, and prosecution would prevail if the accused is proved to have performed the actus reus (guilty act), regardless of the existence of the corresponding mens rea (guilty mind).

     Finally, the finance company was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000.

     Pursuant to the Housing Ordinance, it is an offence for a subsidised housing flat owner to unlawfully mortgage, charge, assign or otherwise alienate their subsidised housing flat without paying a premium or obtaining prior approval from the Director of Housing and that such a transaction will also be void. Under Section 27A of the Housing Ordinance, a void alienation under Section 17B is an offence and the offender is liable to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for one year.

     Since 2013, the HD has laid a total of 27 summonses to subsidised housing flat owners and finance companies for the offence of unlawful alienations. Twenty-one of them were successfully convicted with fines ranging from $5,000 to $40,000.

Ends/Sunday, September 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:00


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