The League of Social Democrats (LSD) has criticised the government for “lying” about the use of prefabricated materials at housing estates affected by the lead-in-water scandal, including the use of pipe fittings from China. The government recently admitted that all fittings used at Kai Ching Estate – the first estate affected by water contamination – were made in the mainland.

Pipe fittings have been considered to be one of the main sources of the contamination, with the soldering materials used to connect the pipes also considered a factor.

The LSD accused the government of lying on their Facebook page: “Using lies to cover lies, didn’t your mother or your teacher tell you people shouldn’t lie?”

On a morning radio programme on July 13, the Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said: “On the issue of prefabricated parts, in fact in Kai Ching Estate, only a small amount of pipes were installed in prefabricated bathrooms and kitchens [in China]. This was done as a test, all other pipes were installed in the [Hong Kong] building sites.”

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung. Photo: Apple Daily and Stand News.

However, the government issued a press release at 9:59pm on July 13, admitting that about half of the pipes were installed in China.

“Regarding the prefabricated parts, the bathrooms in all six blocks of Kai Ching Estate were basically prefabricated ones, with the pipes of about half of them being fitted on the Mainland. The kitchens of only two blocks were prefabricated ones, with the pipes of about half of them fitted on the Mainland. The two kitchens from where lead in soldering materials was found earlier were not prefabricated ones. Also, of the seven water samples found earlier to have lead content exceeding the WHO [World Health Organisation] standard, only one was taken from the pipe of a prefabricated kitchen fitted on the Mainland.”

Kai Ching Estate. Photo: Apple Daily.

In a hearing of the Commission of Inquiry into Excess Lead Found in Drinking Water on Thursday, Deputy Director of the Housing Department Ada Fung Yin-suen admitted that all the prefabricated parts and the pipe fittings inside were made in China.

During the hearing, Fung said plumbers responsible for the housing projects are able to go to China to monitor the production.

But when Fung was asked by the lawyer for the commission, Paul Shieh Wing-tai, if the plumbers have ever monitored the process, Fung said it depended on how the builders managed the production line.

The lead water contamination issue was first brought to light by the Democratic Party in July, after which more than ten public housing estates and various schools across Hong Kong were found with excessive lead content in their water supplies.


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.