Buildings Department officials entered the house of new Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng for investigation on Tuesday morning, following allegations in recent days that there were illegal structures on her property.

Apple Daily photographed around six to seven officials entering Cheng’s Tuen Mun property at around 9:45am, as well as that of her husband Otto Poon, who owns the neighbouring house.

The department is scheduled to announce further details on the matter later in the afternoon, reported the newspaper.

On the first day of Cheng’s tenure last Saturday, local media published front page reports alleging that there was a suspected 400 square foot basement, an additional room on the roof, an additional balcony and two additional small ponds on the ground floor of her residence. Similar structures were alleged to have been built inside Poon’s house, with a doorway linking the two properties.

Cheng then said that the suspected unauthorised structures already existed when she bought the property in 2008.

Teresa Cheng and Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

On Tuesday morning, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the Buildings Department would examine the facts behind the allegations before taking any action.

She said that Cheng had reported the matter to her as soon as she was made aware of it on the afternoon of January 5, the day her appointment was announced, via enquiries from the media and the Buildings Department.

“We conduct an integrity check, a very detailed integrity check, on every single principal official – in fact all senior civil servants,” she added. “[Cheng] passed it.”

Elson Tong

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