Government departments have ordered the owner of a residential unit at a building where a gruesome murder took place to restore it to industrial use, otherwise the apartment may be taken over by the government.
In March, a murder victim was discovered in a cement block at the DAN6 industrial building in Tsuen Wan. Four suspected were arrested and were brought to court.
The flat was found to have been illegally converted for domestic use, though the building was designed and constructed for industrial use only, according to local media reports. The Buildings Department and the Lands Department announced that they were taking joint action “to protect the safety of the public and tenants”.
Subsequent to its earlier investigation, the Buildings Department served statutory orders against the owner of the unit, which was found to have had unauthorised building works carried out.
The orders required the owner to discontinue the present domestic use, demolish the unauthorised building works and reinstate the affected parts of the premises in accordance with the approved plan.
“In view of the seriousness of using industrial units for domestic purposes, the [Lands Department] will consider taking further lease enforcement actions as deemed necessary, including vesting the interests of the unit in the government,” a statement from the government said.
The building has also been included in the Buildings Department’s large-scale operation against domestic conversions in industrial buildings. Both departments will arrange to inspect other units of the building in phases.
The Buildings Department warned owners of industrial buildings not to change their units to domestic use illegally or carry out unauthorised building works. It stressed that owners who contravene the relevant legislation or fail to comply with the statutory orders may be prosecuted. The maximum penalties upon conviction are fines ranging from HK$50,000 to HK$200,000 and one year’s imprisonment.
DAN6 was formerly known as Prosun Building and was built in 1971. It was acquired by listed company HKR International Ltd. in 2010 to be rebuilt into a 20-storey industrial building. It reopened in 2014.