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LCQ13: Ex-disciplined services officers not vacating quarters by deadlines
     Following is a question by the Hon Lam Cheuk-ting and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, in the Legislative Council today (April 11):


     According to the existing policy on civil service housing benefits, eligible overseas officers appointed before October 1, 1990 or local officers on or above Point 45 of the Master Pay Scale or equivalent may be allocated non-departmental quarters (NDQs). On the other hand, married staff of the disciplined services may be allocated departmental quarters (DQs), subject to the availability of resources. It has been reported that at present, quite a number of disciplined services staff who had retired or left the service (including dismissed former policemen) have still not vacated the DQs several years after the deadlines. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective numbers, as at March 31 this year, of persons who had been dismissed or compulsorily retired and did not vacate NDQs and DQs by the deadlines, and their reasons for not vacating the quarters;

(2) of the current number of persons who did not vacate the quarters by the deadlines, with a breakdown by (i) the department to which they belonged before they retired/left the service, (ii) the duration of overstaying, and (iii) the monthly market rent group (each group spanning $5 000) to which the occupied unit belongs; and

(3) of the procedure adopted by the Government for repossessing the units of the quarters not surrendered by the deadlines; since when persons who did not vacate the quarters by the deadlines are required to pay market rents and the procedure that the Government will adopt for recovering from them the outstanding rents?



     We have consulted the Civil Service Bureau and our consolidated reply to the Hon Lam Cheuk-ting's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) As at March 31, 2018, 11 retired or resigned disciplined services officers and 10 dismissed or compulsorily retired disciplined services officers had not vacated their disciplined services quarters beyond the grace period without the approval of the Head of Department (HoD) for further extension of stay (accounting for around 0.1 per cent of total disciplined services quarters). There was no similar case for non-departmental quarters.

     The 21 cases involved ex-disciplined services officers from the Hong Kong Police Force and the Correctional Services Department. The average duration of overstay beyond the grace period was around 25 months. The monthly market rent groups of the units were $10 000 to $15 000 (13 cases), and $15 000 to $20 000 (8 cases). 

(3) According to the Government's Accommodation Regulations (AR), a disciplined services officer's eligibility for quarters ceases on commencement of his or her pre-resignation or pre-retirement leave, and the officer is allowed two months from the effective date to vacate his or her quarters. If the officer has applied for a public rental housing (PRH) flat under the Civil Service Public Housing Quota (CSPHQ), the two-month grace period will run from the date of signing of tenancy agreement of the PRH flat, or the date on which all the outstanding CSPHQ applications are confirmed unsuccessful and therefore cancelled. If an officer fails to vacate his or her quarters by the grace period, HoD may, upon reviewing the justifications provided by the officer, exercise discretion to extend the grace period for up to one month. As for dismissed disciplined services officers, they have to vacate the quarters within one month.

     If an officer is unable to vacate at the end of the three-month extended grace period after retirement or leaving the service, or a dismissed officer is unable to vacate at the end of the one-month grace period, he or she should write to the HoD for further extension of the grace period and put up justifications for HoD's consideration. According to the AR, HoD should approve a further extension of the grace period only where exceptional compassionate grounds exist, and the officer should be charged market rent for the quarters as assessed by the Government Property Agency during the further extended grace period. If the officer's application is turned down and he or she fails to vacate, HoD should refer the case to the Department of Justice (DoJ) for commencement of eviction proceedings. If necessary, DoJ will apply from the Court an order for eviction.
Ends/Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:10
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