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Commission of Inquiry into Excess Lead Found in Drinking Water conducts preliminary hearing

The following is issued on behalf of the Commission of Inquiry into Excess Lead Found in Drinking Water:

     The Commission of Inquiry into Excess Lead Found in Drinking Water conducted a preliminary hearing today (October 20).

     According to the submissions made by Counsel for the Commission at the preliminary hearing, the Commission had so far issued letters to 15 parties who had been asked to consider participating and having separate legal representation in the Inquiry, given that criticisms might be raised against them during the course of the proceedings. These parties are:

(1) Water Supplies Department;
(2) Hong Kong Housing Authority;
(3) Yau Lee Construction Company Limited;
(4) China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited;
(5) Paul Y. General Contractors Limited;
(6) Shui On Building Contractors Limited;
(7) Ming Hop Company Limited;
(8) Ho Biu Kee Construction Engineering Company Limited;
(9) Golden Day Engineering Company Limited;
(10) Wing Hing Plumbing Drainage;
(11) Sum Kee Water-pipe Drainage Limited;
(12) Hang Lee Engineering Company;
(13) Mr Ng Hak-ming;
(14) Mr Lam Tak-sum; and
(15) Mr Cheung Tat-yam.

     The Commission had directed these parties to provide witness statements, information and/or materials on specific issues, which are expected to be ready from October 26 onwards. The Commission will then determine if further witness statements will be required and which witnesses will be required to testify on oath at its substantive hearing, to be commenced on November 2.

     Counsel for the Commission stated that the Commission had been in the process of instructing at least three expert witnesses, i.e. Professor Joseph Lee of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Professor David Bellinger of Harvard Medical School, and Professor John Fawell, who is a biologist and toxicologist from the United Kingdom, to assist in the work of the Commission, covering aspects such as civil and environmental engineering, neurology and toxicology, as well as international guidelines and practices on the regulation of lead content in drinking water. Both Professor Bellinger and Professor Fawell have extensive experience working with the World Health Organization.

     The Commission also dealt with other procedural matters at the preliminary hearing, including language of the hearing, legal representation of the parties, the manner in which oral evidence should be provided by witnesses, access to documents to be used at the substantive hearing, limits on the use of such documents, and prohibitions on audio/video recording during the hearing.

     For the benefit of the public, the Commission has determined to use Cantonese as the default language of the hearing, and will provide interpretation service at all of its hearings. Unless otherwise directed, all hearings of the Commission will be open to the media and the public.

     The Commission will commence the substantive hearing of the Inquiry on November 2 and the hearing venue is located at 1 Battery Path, Central, the Former Court of Final Appeal Building. The hearing time each day will be from 10am to 1pm and from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The hearing schedule and other related arrangements will be uploaded to the Commission's website at

Ends/Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:00


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