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Old March 26th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #1161
hkskyline
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But the article did state "office rentals across the city rose by an average of 28.5 per cent [last year]," that's a significant amount as well.
How much did the residential side rise on average?
But commercial prices started jumping later in the year, while residential prices have risen throughout the year.

Here's a gauge : http://www.midland.com.hk/chi/midland_trend/
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Old March 27th, 2011, 12:57 AM   #1162
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But commercial prices started jumping later in the year, while residential prices have risen throughout the year.

Here's a gauge : http://www.midland.com.hk/chi/midland_trend/
Nice, never realized Midland has such graphic.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 07:18 AM   #1163
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Regardless when it started to rise, a height limit does limit the supply and does have an effect on rental price. The residential bit is already bad enough. The last thing we want is for office space to get even more expensive!
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Old March 28th, 2011, 09:52 AM   #1164
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More 'green' offices as demand grows
23 March 2011
SCMP

Rising demand from tenants seeking "green" office buildings will prompt developers to build more smart commercial buildings in Asia equipped with environmentally friendly features, says a global association for corporate real estate professionals.

"A lot more companies are looking for green space, and Asia is growing, with more multinational corporations coming here," said Michael Zamora, CoreNet Global board member and vice-president of communications in Asia.

About 50 per cent of companies were willing to pay more for a "greener" or more environmentally friendly office, according to a recent survey by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle and CoreNet.

CoreNet has about 7,000 members from the real estate sector worldwide.

Of the 143 industry executives interviewed around the world in the annual survey at the end of last year, 48 per cent said they were willing to pay up to a 10 per cent premium for sustainable office space. And 2 per cent said they would even pay 10 per cent more.

Zamora, who is also an architect and real estate broker based in Hong Kong, explained that companies, particularly multinational corporations, sought offices in green buildings because they were more aware of their corporate social responsibility and image.

And smart buildings helped them significantly cut power expenses.

"Depending on where you are talking about in the world, probably about 30 to 35 per cent of the operating expenses of a building is electricity ... for air-conditioning to keep us cool, or machines to keep us warm, and run our equipment," said Zamora, citing the new Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou's Tianhe district as an example.

The development, which is billed as an iconic smart building equipped with energy-saving features such as wind turbines, solar collectors and raised-floor ventilation, consumes 20 to 40 per cent less power than ordinary buildings, he said.

Such buildings are also lucrative for developers, even though they cost more to build, because the green features are in demand and fetch higher rents.

Zamora said Asia was gradually catching up with the Western trend towards more intelligent buildings as the region develops and its newest constructions meet increasingly higher, or even the highest, standards.

According to recent research by CB Richard Ellis, Asia accounted for around 35 per cent of the 110 million square foot of office space completed in 2001.

But in the last decade, Asia's percentage share has grown to 75 per cent of the estimated 110 million sq ft of completed space this year.

Zamora said in Australia, the New South Wales government would only rent space in buildings with a certain level of green ratings.

In Hong Kong, demand is also growing for green office space, especially from multinational companies, he said, citing the International Finance Centre in Central and the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon as examples.

He also noted that in South Korea, the government has announced plans to develop Songdu City in Incheon into a green city with at least 50 per cent of the buildings to meet the international standard for green buildings.

CoreNet is holding a three-day summit in Hong Kong until tomorrow to discuss topics such as smart buildings.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #1165
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Radicals offer land-swap solution
The Standard
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Mad Dog" Raymond Wong Yuk-man and his People Power colleague Albert Chan Wai-yip say besides exercising power to destroy, they have a constructive side, and are prepared to suggest solutions to social problems.

Speaking on the escalating dispute between Mei Foo Sun Chuen flat owners and a developer on a plan to construct a 20-story block in the area, the lawmakers proposed the government follow its success in the King Yin Lei case, where a land-swap approach saved a historic mansion.

The lawmakers - who broke away from the League of Social Democrats in January - said they will set up several committees in their group to provide constructive views to other social problems, to dispel the "destructive power" name tag they have been given. Chan said a land swap could change a "three-loss" situation between the government, the developer and residents to a "three-win" situation.

"Dissatisfaction over the monopoly enjoyed by property developers is aggravating society and many people are angry," Chan said.

"Yet the King Yin Lei precedent shows a land swap is possible, and the government should make good use of it."

People Power said the government can swap land with developers, using sites on the land application list that nearby residents already know have been earmarked for high-density development.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 08:29 PM   #1166
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Developers queue for green tests that boost floor area
2 April 2011
South China Morning Post

Developers hungry for extra floor area for their projects via government concessions are queuing for environmental assessments of their buildings that are required under a revised policy that took effect yesterday.

Thirty new developments, including some big names, are already registered for a certificate from the Green Building Council.

Apart from government departments, which are expected to take a leading role, Swire Properties, Sino Land, Nan Fung, the MTR Corporation and the English Schools Foundation are on the list.

Under the revised policy - limiting the amount of extra floor area a developer can obtain for adding green and amenity facilities - a green building assessment is required before plans are submitted to the Buildings Department. The assessment results will be published in sales brochures to inform flat buyers of how much energy the design will save.

Among the 23 projects which have completed the registration and were disclosed by the Green Building Council yesterday, three are government projects - the cruise terminal building in Kai Tak, the redevelopment of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority headquarters, and quarters for the Customs and Excise Department.

Almost half of the disclosed projects are residential. They include the Housing Society's pioneering project in Tsing Yi, which allows people to rent a flat first and buy it later.

Also on the list is the 1,200-flat MTR project at Austin Station, Swire's two 50-storey towers in Seymour Road, Mid Levels; and a renewal project in Tai Kok Tsui codeveloped by Sino Land and the Urban Renewal Authority.

The assessment is also being sought by educational institutes including the English Schools Foundation, which plans to redevelop its King George V and Kowloon Junior schools. Baptist University and the University of Science and Technology are in line for their joint hostel project in Tseung Kwan O.

Only two commercial blocks - in Kwun Tong and Wong Chuk Hang - had registered by yesterday.

The council spokeswoman would not give details of the seven projects still to complete registration.

The assessment, undertaken by assessors trained by the council, looks at various aspects of a development including energy use, site ventilation, indoor air quality, water consumption and waste management.

But developers do not need to pass the assessment in order to obtain extra floor area - they are only required to complete the assessment and disclose the results.

"This should be the first step. It encourages developers to achieve better environmental standards through market competition," council board director Wong Kam-sing said, adding that a pass or minimum standard may be required later.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 07:58 PM   #1167
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Residential Development near Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen complies with Statutory Requirements and Lease Conditions
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Government Press Release







In response to some local residents' concern over a residential development near Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a spokesman for the Development Bureau confirmed today (April 3) that the project meets relevant statutory requirements and complies with the use permissible under the land lease. There is no case for the Government to interfere with a lawful private project.

"The residential development concerned (the development) is located at Lots NKML 25 R.P. and NKML 25 S.B (the site). According to the lease conditions, the site can be used for non-industrial uses which include residential use. The site falls within the Lai Chi Kok Outline Zoning Plan and has been zoned 'Residential (Group A)' since 1985 under the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131). The Building Authority (BA) has approved the general building plans and commencement of foundation works for the development in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) (BO)", the spokesman said.

According to the latest approved building plans, one single block of 20-storey building will be built at the site and its height will be similar to that of the buildings of Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen next to the site.

"There have been suggestions that the Government should consider executing a non-in-situ land exchange with the owner of the site so as to stop the development. We have to emphasise that non-in-situ land exchanges are considered by the Executive Council only under very special circumstances with full policy justifications where an overall public interest is at stake, for example, to protect and preserve a historic building under Hong Kong's heritage conservation policy.

In this case, the development complies with the planning and building legislation and residential use is permissible under the land lease. There are no policy considerations or special circumstances which warrant the Government's interference with private property rights. Any suggested non-in-situ land exchange with the owner to stop the development simply to address some local resistance cannot be justified", the spokesman added.

The residents' concern about the development has been the subject of discussion at the Sham Shui Po District Council and the Legislative Council. Specifically, Members of the Legislative Council met with the Administration in case conferences on the subject held in 2004, 2009 and 2010 (twice in 2010). Between 2009 and 2011, representatives of the Administration also attended meetings of the working group established under the Sham Shui Po District Council on the subject, and met with the residents of Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen. During those extensive discussions, relevant departments had explained the situation and clarified misunderstandings. For example, in response to an allegation that the project was taking up the so-called "residual plot ratio" of the Mei Foo Sun Chuen Phase 8 site, the Administration explained that there could be no question of this as the project site is a separate site with its own development parameters.

"We fully appreciate growing public aspirations for a better living environment in recent years and the Government has taken various steps, both policy changes and review of government schemes, to respond positively to those aspirations. However, respect for private property rights and upholding the rule of law must not be compromised," the spokesman said.

A background note on the development is attached : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0186_77336.pdf

Map : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0186_77337.pdf
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Old April 4th, 2011, 06:29 AM   #1168
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A "people-centred" approach should be used to carry out urban renewal. The purpose of urban renewal is to improve the quality of life of residents in the urban area. The Government has to balance the interests and needs of all sectors of the community without sacrificing the lawful rights of any particular group. The aim is to reduce the number of inadequately housed people.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 06:39 AM   #1169
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Sleepless in Mei Foo
The Standard
Monday, April 04, 2011

Hundreds of Mei Foo Sun Chuen residents and supporters staged a dramatic lie-down protest yesterday to try to stop a new block being built on the estate.

They claim that the development will cut off air flow in the 99-block estate. Protesters, many clad in black, held their "sleep in the street" action next to the construction site for three minutes and later marched around the estate.

Police said about 300 residents participated in the lie-down protest and 500 in the march, but organizers claimed 1,100 residents and supporters joined in.

They are fighting a 20-story residential block due to be built by 2013 on a site that held a petroleum storage tank.

The project follows developer Cheung Tat's purchase of the site from New World Development and surrounding roads from Broadway-Nassau Investments, the management company of Mei Foo and linked to New World.

Early-stage construction has been on hold since early last month when residents formed patrol teams and launched blocking action.

They argue that the site serves as a wind corridor, and a new block will have a shield effect on what was the world's largest private housing estate when completed in 1978.

Protesters want the government to enter into a land swap with the developer to stop the project.

Yip Siu-chau, convener of the concern group, said there is also a move for a judicial review as the developer used incorrect plot ratio data in gaining a go- ahead for the project.

But the government indicated last night it will not interfere as the project meets statutory requirements. A land swap was ruled out, with a spokesman for the Development Bureau saying that is limited to very special circumstances and the public interest, and an action "simply to address some local resistance cannot be justified."

But Yip said there is nothing new in such responses. Agreeing to a land swap would mean the government admitting to a mistake, he said.

Meanwhile, more action right down at street level is in the offing.

Lo Chung-cheong, a resident of Block 94 for more than 10 years and on the street yesterday, said possible venues are Government House, the residence of Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the jewelry store owned by Cheung Tat.

Politicians are also getting into the act, with lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Democratic Party, Civic Party and League of Social Democrats supporting residents.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1170
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Don't think such a demonstration would help things ...
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Old April 5th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #1171
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Don't think such a demonstration would help things ...
Me, too. It certain raised the public awareness, but highly doubt they can turn the development down by sleeping on the street.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #1172
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Although they can make plenty of noise to get people's attention and embarrass the government through poking at the ventilation effect and hot social topics of the day.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #1173
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Hospital hit over `monster' block
The Standard
Monday, April 04, 2011

Residents opposing the expansion of Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital ramped up their protests yesterday, accusing the government of going back on its word.

The group solicited signatures for a petition against the proposed construction of two 20-story blocks as part of the hospital's Phase 4 development.

Within a span of four hours, the group collected nearly 400 signatures, mostly from Happy Valley residents who tied yellow ribbons on a fence to express their hopes for change.

"It feels almost as though the government has cheated us. First, they said they were going to prevent construction. Now they're allowing it again," said Jeff Ho Yip-chor, co-founder of the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital Redevelopment Concern Group.

Ho said many residents are making a stand because the sanatorium is ultimately a private hospital that serves only a select portion of the community.

"The hospital doesn't even have the resources to run all its wards, and now they want to expand even further. It's ridiculous," Ho said.

The new blocks, he added, will see the hospital tower over neighboring flats.

Some residents fear the value of their flats may fall by up to one third because their views of the racecourse will be obstructed.

Cecilia Atwood said traffic congestion is a growing problem, and having more rooms in the hospital may worsen the situation.

"There are days when we're simply frustrated by the traffic. Put that together with this upcoming monster of a building, I think we've got a pretty nasty estate," Atwood said, referring to the start of building on one of the blocks

The initial plan for a 38-story extension was blocked in 2008 when the Town Planning Board set a 12-story height restriction before agreement was reached in September for the two 20-story extensions.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #1174
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Meh, they just didn't want their views blocked.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 08:44 PM   #1175
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Meh, they just didn't want their views blocked.
And property value goes down without the park view.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #1176
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2,700 flats coming on market
The Standard
Monday, April 04, 2011

At least four new property projects are expected to be marketed this month, adding up to 2,689 flats for sale - even as nervous sellers in the secondary market start cutting prices.

Among them, Kerry Properties' (0683) Lions Rise in Wong Tai Sin will provide the largest number of homes - 968 flats - to the market. The flats are sized between 680 and 1,470 square feet, and the developer may price them from HK$6.8 million, or HK$10,000 per square foot.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) is likely to sell 650 flats at Imperial Cullinan at Olympic Station that are sized between 800 and 1,900 sq ft, and priced from HK$35 million each.

One Regent Place in Yuen Long, another SHKP project, consists of eight houses and 337 flats, ranging from 400 to 2,000 sq ft. Over the weekend, the developer started a roadshow in Shenzhen, attracting more than 10,000 visitors.

Also in Yuen Long is Uptown from Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001), which has a total of 37 houses, sized between 2,000 and 2,300 sq ft each. Houses may be priced from HK$18 million, or HK$9,000 psf. The developer may also offer a fixed mortgage rate - as low as 1 percent - for the whole term.

Sales at other primary residential projects also performed well. Over the weekend, Henderson Land (0012) nearly sold out the 103 flats it launched on Friday at The Gloucester, in Wan Chai.

Cheung Kong sold about 12 flats on the weekend at its Festival City 2 at Tai Wai. With about 100 flats left, the developer plans to cancel the 2 percent discount it had offered to earlier buyers, as well as hiking prices.

More than 13,000 flats at this project were sold since its launch at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the secondary market performed poorly over the weekend. Kornhill, Discovery Park and Laguna City - three benchmark residential projects in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon - recorded zero deals.

An owner at Tai Koo Shing, another benchmark project in Hong Kong, sold a 867 sq ft flat at HK$5.96 million, after cutting HK$340,000 off the asking price because of concerns over the current economic instability.

A flat owner in Tseung Kwan O lopped off HK$150,000 before selling a 511 sq ft flat for HK$2.95 million.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #1177
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Two more Mei Foo sites have unused potential
Residents fighting tower fear more new projects on their private estate

7 April 2011
South China Morning Post

Mei Foo Sun Chuen residents, fighting plans for a high-rise development near their homes, fear more such developments because at least two other parts of the private housing estate have unused building potential.

Yip Siu-chau, who is leading the campaign against a high-rise project next to Phase 8 of the Mei Foo estate, said Stewart Leung Chi-kin, then executive director of Mei Foo developer New World, had told residents in 2009 that two more spots in the estate could yield flats.

"Mr Leung said Mei Foo had one million square feet of land and all can be used for building flats," Yip said. "He said in particular the community hall in Phase 2 and a petrol station in Phase 6 could be redeveloped."

Building plans for Phases 1 and 2 of the estate show neither was developed to the permitted density, leaving the potential for more flats with floor area totalling about 474,000 square feet. Phases 5 and 6 have about 219,000 sq ft unused.

Yip said residents were worried there would be more new buildings in the estate. "The community hall is 40 years old and we've been using it for performances and other activities for all these years. We're afraid it will really be torn down and become a high-rise one day."

A New World spokeswoman said: "We don't yet have plans to develop the community hall. The one million sq ft that Mr Leung mentioned was only a description of the actual size of Mei Foo." The petrol station did not belong to New World, she added.

The Development Bureau had not responded last night on whether redevelopment was feasible on the two spots.

A Mei Foo resident, with legal aid assistance, plans a judicial review of the Buildings Department's decision to allow Billion Star Development to build a 20-storey apartment block in Phase 8. The site for the block housed an LPG storage plant that served Mei Foo until 1999.

The 1,350-square-metre site of the plant was a component of the Phase 8 development when New World submitted its building plan in the 1970s.

Residents say the plant site was included in calculating the building density of Phase 8 so that the site coverage - the proportion of the land covered by the building's footprint - did not exceed the legal limit of 38 per cent.

They now argue that building on the site would make Phase 8 exceed the original requirement.

New World has denied it is behind the project, saying it has sold the land to Billion Star, held by two lawyers whose company has worked for New World.

The Development Bureau has made contradictory remarks on the issue.

It had earlier said the plant site and Phase 8 were interrelated, and that the Phase 8 site would stay within legal limits for site coverage because a 540-square-metre portion of the new site would be left empty.

But in a statement issued after a protest by the residents on Sunday, the bureau said the plant lot was an independent site with its own building requirements.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 05:24 AM   #1178
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Dockyard eyes big ships with expansion plan
Company aims to grow at Tsing Yi

6 April 2011
South China Morning Post

Hongkong United Dockyards is seeking to double the size of its dry dock complex at Tsing Yi with the addition of a second floating ship repair dock capable of handling the largest container ships afloat.

But the company, a 50-50 joint venture between Swire Pacific and Hutchison Whampoa, also wants to be allowed to import mainland shipyard workers to help overcome a shortage of skilled Hong Kong workers while it trains its own recruits.

HUD managing director Lung Chi-kok said the new dock would require between 300 and 500 skilled workers and would double the number of existing ship repair personnel. He hoped that all of these would be for local crafts people, but the company had also urged the Immigration Department to allow it to import workers from the mainland.

He said if the company was unable to get the 500 workers "we will be in quite a serious problem".

Lionel Krieger, project director for the second repair dock, said that while the multimillion-dollar investment in the second dock required board approval, a second dock was crucial if the company was to survive.

"Vessels are getting larger and larger. What was yesterday's very large container ship is today's feeder ship. It is up to us to maintain a level of expertise. We need to get a bigger dock otherwise we can't accommodate a ship owner's vessels," he said.

The existing dock can handle ships up to 300 metres long and 40 metres wide, equivalent to container ships of around 6,500 teu (20-foot equivalent units).

But Iris Kwan, HUD general manager for finance, said 22 per cent of the container ships now in the global fleet were 7,000 teu and larger. "Two out of 10 ships we cannot serve," she said. These included the 18,000 teu container ships recently order by Maersk Line that will enter service on Asia-Europe routes including Hong Kong from 2013. Lung estimated HUD was losing about 10 ships a year because it was unable to repair larger vessels. The existing dock, which nestles in the shadow of the Tsing Ma bridge, is capable of repairing 35-40 ships a year, while a typical docking lasts up to about 10 days.

Krieger said having a repair yard "five minutes sailing from Kwai Chung" was part of Hong Kong's critical mass as one of the world's leading ports. He said it was also important to have a repair yard with the development of the Kai Tak cruise terminal.

Fabrication yards, including Shanghai's Huarun Dadong Dockyard, will be invited to tender for the construction of the second dock which could be in operation in 2013.

Krieger said an environmental impact assessment would have to be carried out and approved to ensure the second dock complied with environment legislation.

Lung remained optimistic about business prospects this year and explained that as shipowners returned to profitability last year they were again spending money on ship maintenance and repair.

Turning to labour issues, Lung said the company had lobbied the government-backed Maritime Industry Council, transport sector legislator Miriam Lau Kin-yee and Doris Cheung Mei-chu, a deputy secretary at the Transport and Housing Bureau who has responsibility for the maritime sector, to import foreign workers. He said the company was recently allowed to bring in 40 workers from Singapore to work on a specific short-term ship repair project. But HUD needed to import workers on a longer contract basis from the mainland to overcome the shortfall in staff, although the firm's approaches for help, including from the Immigration Department, had failed. This was despite the company paying HK$12,000 per month plus housing and other benefits.

HUD will take about 40 apprentices this year from the Vocational Training Council, backed by support from a HK$2,000 a month government's training subsidy for each trainee. But the company, with its strong focus on welding and electrical and mechanical engineering, was competing with organisations such as the MTR Corporation and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering for trainees and skilled staff.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #1179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
And property value goes down without the park view.
Maybe I can start protesting about a new neighbour who used up some of the oxygen I needed...
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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #1180
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`War' declared on New World
The Standard
Monday, April 11, 2011

About 30 Mei Foo Sun Chuen residents declared war on New World Development during a protest outside the group's Chow Tai Fook jewelry shop in Mong Kok.

They were protesting yesterday against a plan by developer Cheung Tat to build a 20-story block in Phase 8 on a site purchased from New World Development.

Construction will involve the closure of footpaths and roads, causing great inconvenience to residents.

Concern group convener and Block 96 resident Yip Siu-chau said: "The roads cannot be included in the project. They are our community facilities and we have the right to use them."

Yip also fears the proposed structure will cut off air flow in the 99-block estate and called on the government to discuss a land swap with the developer.

Lo Chung-cheong, a resident in Block 94, accused New World of effectively stealing their property by selling the site to Cheung Tat. Lo said, despite many appeals, New World has so far not responded to residents' concerns and consequently they will take more action next month.

He did not disclose what this action will be, but added: "Today, we made a declaration of war against them."
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