A third property at an upmarket housing estate was found to have been fitted with a three-storey illegal structure, the Buildings Department has revealed, after a landslide triggered by record rains last week uncovered unauthorised works at two other houses at the estate.
Local media reported on Thursday evening that house 74 at Redhill Peninsula, a luxury estate overlooking Tai Tam Bay that was the scene of the landslide, had a three-storey illegal structure.
The basement floor had an area of 72 square metres, the middle floor 56 square metres, and the top floor 10.4 square metres. Part of a retaining wall near the slope had been torn down to accommodate the basement.
According to a provisional sales agreement listed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the property was registered as a company under the name Future Ocean Limited.
Authorities confirmed on Thursday that house 74 had illegal structures after the occupant initially refused a search by Buildings Department personnel on Tuesday. The department, along with the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), then obtained a court warrant to conduct the inspection.
Authorities have ordered the occupant of house 74 to cordon off the illegal structure over safety concerns.
Earlier this week, houses 70 and 72 at Redhill Peninsula were found to have installed illegal structures including basements. The Lands Department has started remedial work at the Redhill Peninsula site.
News of the third instance came as development policy think-tank Liber Research Community identified 173 instances of potential illegal occupation at luxury housing estates, in the form of unauthorised work such as backyards and swimming pools.
Liber’s Chan Kim-ching said those unauthorised works posed the same safety risks as the unauthorised works at Redhill Peninsula, which he said had affected the slope’s structural integrity, and was one of the factors that had caused the landslide.
Chief Executive John Lee on Tuesday vowed to take action against lease violations involving illegal structures, saying the government would “take action in accordance with the law,” including prosecuting and claiming costs from lawbreakers.
Development minister Bernadette Linn said on Wednesday that the Buildings Department and Lands Department would jointly launch large-scale inspections at Redhill Peninsula.
She said slope maintenance work would cost millions of dollars, and authorities would, within reason, recover costs from those responsible.
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