Legislative Council by-election candidate Paul Zimmerman has apologised for having illegal structures at his home in Sai Kung.

The incident was revealed by local media on Tuesday night. In a statement Zimmerman issued afterwards, he said he has never tried to hide the structures and that they have been registered with the government.

Zimmerman said he moved into a village house in Ng Fai Tin in 2007, and agreed to renovations ahead of the purchase.

Paul Zimmerman
Paul Zimmerman. File photo: In-Media

In 2008, he was notified by the Lands Department that some structures on the rooftop were unauthorised.

“I decided not to remove them and accepted the letter would be registered in the Land Registry,” Zimmerman said.

He also reported a canopy extending from the stairwell and four rooftop amenities – a stone bench, boiler room, cabinet and glass balustrade. He reported them after the “New Territories Exempted Houses – Reporting Scheme for Unauthorized Building Works” was established in 2011.

“In preparation of the election and to meet public expectations I immediately undertook [work] to remove the canopy and it has been completed. Works for the remaining items are being planned,” he said.

Zimmerman has been a district councillor since 2010.


Posted by Paul Zimmerman 司馬文 on Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The issue of illegal structures rocked the city this month following a scandal surrounding Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who admitted to unauthorised works at four of her properties.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung said the Zimmerman case was “unbelievable” as he has relevant professional experience.

“He is not new to politics. He has been in politics for some time,” she said.

Priscilla Leung
Priscilla Leung. File photo: In-Media.

Zimmerman is involved in several urban planning, architectural and conservation groups.

Leung said the incident was more serious than Cheng’s as Zimmerman had knowledge of the structures and Cheng was new to politics.

“According to the news, his friends in politics had urged him [in the past] to handle them as soon as possible,” Leung said.

Both Zimmerman and former lawmaker Tony Tse are running in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector.

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.