The Buildings Department has prosecuted subcontractors working on the redevelopment of the historic former Central Police Station compound, where a wall collapsed last May.

The department released a report on the results of its investigation into the incident on Wednesday, but it has been criticised for its brevity.

Central Police Station collapse. Photo: Buildings Department.

In 2007, the government announced plans in conjunction with the Hong Kong Jockey Club to redevelop the site into a culture and leisure hub. The development would be known as Tai Kwun.

However, last May, a 8m x 10m section of a 150-year-old wall collapsed after several days of rain, leading to a halt in redevelopment work. No injuries were reported.

Structural reasons

The Buildings Department’s six-page report on Wednesday outlined the structural factors behind the collapse – principally the hollowing out of brick piers and walls supporting the collapsed structure.

The department said that the collapse was triggered by the “failure of one of the internal brick piers due to significant loss of sectional bearing area.” But the report did not fault any party for the incident.

See also: Former Central Police Station wall collapse an ‘international joke’, says district councillor

Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui said at the Legislative Council that he felt disappointed with the report. “The content does not mention details and important information such as the name of the company, the number of involved engineers and workers, procedural mistakes.”

The collapsed structure.

“Does the public know who the subcontractors are?” he asked. “Do they know how much negligence was involved? Do they know whether we should carry on letting them operate?”

On Wednesday, the department also announced that it has prosecuted engineering works company Gammon Construction Limited among other subcontractors for suspected violations of the Buildings Ordinance. RTHK reported that the hearing will commence at the Eastern Magistrates Courts in July.

Gammon told HKFP that it had already reviewed the report, and would not comment on the incident given the commencement of legal proceedings.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.