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Old April 11th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #1181
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Plan for medical schools to boost intake by a third
11 April 2011
SCMP

The government wants the city's two medical schools to accept substantially more students to address a severe staff shortage at public hospitals. The plan calls for the institutions to raise the number of first-year admissions from the present total of 320 to about 420, starting next year.

The Food and Health Bureau said it expected a "substantial increase in demand for health care practitioners in the future".

"The final student number targets for individual disciplines will be worked out taking into account many factors, including the capacity of the institutions, institutions' assessment of manpower needs and competing demand for student places and resources," a bureau spokesman said.

The exact number of medical students will be based on the government's manpower projection and approved by the University Grants Committee, which will come up with a final figure in the fourth quarter of the year.

The government has been repeatedly criticised for lack of long-term manpower planning and secrecy surrounding how it works out staffing needs. Amid intense debate over staff shortages at public hospitals and threats by public doctors to take industrial action, health officials believe one solution is to train more doctors.

The Hospital Authority admits it does not have manpower projections for planning purposes. It says hospitals have different doctor-patient ratios based on their own needs.

Some leaders in the medical profession have warned that comprehensive, long-term manpower planning must be done before taxpayers are asked to train more doctors.

"The government has never told us how it decides on the number of medical students every year. No one knows the rationale behind it. Members of the public can't take part in the discussion at all," Medical Council member Dr Ho Pak-leung said.

Intakes of medical students have fluctuated over the past decade - from 340 in 2001 to 280 in 2003, then down to 250 in 2006 and up again to the present 320.

The two deans of medicine agreed on the need to train more medical students to meet growing demand.

University of Hong Kong dean of medicine Professor Lee Sum-ping said many places around the world were facing shortages of medical professionals. Training more students was a "rational and positive step forward", he said. "The evolution of any supply-demand equilibrium is never going to be static and we should be prepared to adjust this balance in a continuous and dynamic way."

Lee's counterpart at Chinese University, Professor Fok Tai-fai, believed Hong Kong needed more doctors to meet the growing demand of an ageing population.

The ratio of doctors to population in Hong Kong is one of the lowest among developed cities. Government figures show there were 1.8 doctors per 1,000 people in Hong Kong in 2009, compared with 2.2 in Singapore and 2.3 in South Korea.

Many European countries have three to six doctors per 1,000 people. Britain has 2.7 and the United States 3.1. The figure is even higher in Italy (6.2) and Finland (4.5).

Concerns have been raised that adding an extra 100 medical students could mean the universities would have to dig into the budgets of other courses. Medicine is always the most costly course.

According to the UGC, the average annual cost of training a medical student has reached HK$647,000, which is 3.6 times the average of HK$180,000 for humanities courses. It costs more than HK$3 million to train a doctor.

But medical legislator Dr Leung Ka-lau warned against a sudden increase in medical students. "If we continue to produce 320 doctors per year at the current speed, there will be about 2,000 doctors in the coming eight years. I doubt if the authority can hire them all, even taking into account the normal wastage in both the public and private sector."

He urged the authority to allocate 10 per cent of its workload to contracted doctors from the private sector so it could be more flexible in adjusting its staffing levels.

Medical Association president Dr Choi Kin said the doctor shortage at public hospitals did not mean the city was short of doctors. "Many public doctors left public hospitals because of poor working conditions," he said. "There are still many doctors in the private market. There is an imbalance between the two sectors."

Yeoh Eng-kiong, professor of public health at Chinese University, said manpower planning was always complex. "Good manpower planning needs to look beyond the demand in the public sector. It should look at the system as a whole, the service delivery models and the health care financing situation."
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Old April 12th, 2011, 05:23 AM   #1182
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Door opens to easier flat renovation cash
The Standard
Friday, April 01, 2011

It will now be easier for residents of old buildings to apply for a renovation subsidy.

Under a new scheme starting today, those applying for grants and subsidies only have to submit one form to either the Urban Renewal Authority or the Housing Society.

As well as being more simple than the previous multiple application system, Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance benefits an additional group of homeowners - the disabled. They, together with the elderly and low-income homeowners, may claim up to HK$10,000 to repair common building areas.

All homeowners may apply for five-year interest- free loans of up to HK$50,000, which may be used to cover renovations.

Or they can apply for low interest, three-year loans of up to HK$1 million from either organization.

There is no need to form an "owners' corporation" before applying for the grants, URA director of works and contracts Stephen Lam Wai-nang said. "Besides providing financial and technical assistance to homeowners, we have provided a one-stop service which makes everything much more convenient."

Homeowners may simply walk into either of the organizations' offices to apply for grants, or they may apply online.

Housing Society general manager (property management) Sanford Poon Yuen-fong said more than 1,300 buildings have benefited from the redevelopment schemes since they began in 2005.

To be eligible a building must be over 20 years old.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 04:57 AM   #1183
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Developers go head to head with Yuen Long flats
The Standard
Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Uptown

Two of Hong Kong's top developers are at war over flat prices at their new Yuen Long projects.

Cheung Kong (0001) has launched the first 621 of 734 flats at Uptown, its new residential project in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long. It is offering buyers a special payment plan involving a minimum HK$580,000 as downpayment for a two-bedroom unit.

Flats under the plan cost at least HK$2.95 million, or HK$4,090 per square foot. Taking all two- to four-bedroom flats on offer, the average price is HK$5,126 psf. Sales start on Friday.

"As the land price was relatively low when we bought it, the first batch of flats can be priced around 20 to 30 percent lower than secondary flats nearby," Cheung Kong executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung said. These prices came after Sun Hung Kai (0016) on Monday revealed the prices of its units at One Regent Place - also in Yuen Long.

Prices for 324 out of 337 flats launched yesterday start from HK$2.66 million. The units are sized from 461 square foot to 1,122 sq ft at an average price of HK$6,371 psf. Sales start tomorrow.

Asking price in the area's secondary market now averages around HK$6,300 psf.

Separately, a homeowner has managed to make a profit of HK$283,000 even after selling a flat bought under the Special Stamp Duty regime, Centaline Property said. The Kowloon City flat sold for HK$2.57 million last month. The owner paid 15 percent of that as penalty for resale within six months.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #1184
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LCQ6: Expansion project of United Christian Hospital
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (April 13):

Question:

In 2011-2012, the estimated number of general beds in the public hospitals under the Kowloon East Hospital Cluster (KE Cluster) of the Hospital Authority (HA) is 2,135, and the ratio of general beds to population within the cluster is 2.2 beds per 1,000 people, which is far below HA's overall ratio of 2.9 beds per 1,000 people. Some members of the public have pointed out that the United Christian Hospital (UCH) in KE Cluster has faced the problem of insufficient space for a long time and it is difficult for it to meet the demand of residents in KE Cluster for medical services. The authorities advised in 2008 that HA was drawing up the preliminary expansion plan of UCH and would submit it to the Government for consideration. However, the 2011-2012 Budget has not mentioned the expansion project. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether HA has submitted UCH's expansion plan to the authorities; if not, whether it knows when HA will submit the expansion plan; if the plan has been submitted, when the works will commence as suggested by HA; whether the authorities will accept the expansion plan; if they will not, of the reasons for that; whether the authorities will undertake that they will allocate resources for the implementation of the expansion project in or before 2012-2013; and

(b) of the respective estimated costs for the entire expansion project and for the first phase of the project; regarding the entire project, of its expected completion date, the number of hospital beds which can be provided, as well as the corresponding increase in the number of healthcare personnel and the amount of recurrent expenditure?

Reply:

President,

Established in 1973, the United Christian Hospital (UCH) is an acute general hospital that provides a wide range of services including in-patient, day-patient, out-patient and community care services to the Kwun Tong community. In view of the increasing demand for ambulatory and in-patient services brought about by the rapid population growth in Kwun Tong in recent years, the Hospital Authority (HA) has proposed to carry out an expansion project for the hospital so as to meet the rising demand for healthcare services.

HA started preliminary planning on the expansion project of UCH in 2008. We accepted this project in principle based on the information submitted by HA, including the need and specific details of the proposed project. HA has subsequently engaged a consultant to carry out various preliminary technical assessments for the project.

The proposed expansion project involves demolition of four existing hospital blocks and one annex for the construction of two new blocks, namely an ambulatory-cum-pathology block and a staff block. Upon relocation of some of the services and facilities from the existing hospital blocks to the two new blocks, the vacated space will be used for improvement, expansion and rationalisation of the existing departments and services. In addition, extended care and oncology wards will be provided in the existing hospital blocks.

At present, HA is conducting preliminary planning work for the expansion project, including the development of "Clinical Service Plan" and "Master Development Plan" etc. As the expansion project of UCH is still at the planning stage, relevant details such as the construction costs, completion date, number of additional staff and recurrent expenditure etc. are under internal consideration. Upon completion of the preliminary planning work, we will seek funding approval in accordance with the established procedures, with a view to commencing the works as soon as possible.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 06:17 PM   #1185
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Property licenses on the line in Icon fallout
The Standard
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Property agencies could lose their license forever if they violate new rules - effective May 1 - on sales of residential properties in the primary market, the Estate Agents Authority said yesterday.

To prevent a saga similar to the one at The Icon from happening again, the authority has updated its guidelines to its agency members.

They are now responsible for training staff to handle primary market sales in compliance with the law, as well as appointing a controller to monitor employees engaged in promotional activities.

Agencies are also required to provide pre-sale briefings to staff prior to any promotional activities, and take reasonable measures to ensure staff are following the guidelines.

"The problems associated with the new development The Icon at Mid-Levels in January this year aroused much concern in the community," said William Leung Wing-cheung, chairman of the EAA's practice and examination committee.

"We may consider revoking agencies' licenses if they violate the new rules."

The Icon's developer, Wingfoong International, and its sole agent, Centaline Property Agency, were accused of failing to provide homebuyers with accurate sales brochures - resulting in purchasers receiving "rubbish dump" or unfinished flats.

Wingfoong ended up buying back the units at prices 20 percent above those at which they were sold.

Under the new rules, property agencies will be required to obtain written permission from developers if they wish to print promotional material for projects, in order to verify the accuracy of the information.

Agents are not allowed to print their own sales brochures and price lists.

If promotional materials are produced with developers' authorization, the agencies would not be held responsible for mistakes, the authority said.

Midland Holdings (1200) executive director Vincent Chan Kwan- hing said the new guidelines come as good news for homebuyers.

"The new rules help to lift market transparency and are also good for the healthy development of the market," he said.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #1186
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Land sales bid to rein in property
The Standard
Thursday, April 14, 2011













Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah yesterday outlined a new land sales program by offering 12 sites - nine residential and three commercial - for auctions between April and June.

While some observers suggest the new plan shows government's determination to cool the property market, several developers disagree, saying prices are determined by the economy.

"Our determination to increase land supply is unquestionable," Tsang told Legco at the start of yesterday's budget debate.

"We will continue to choose appropriate residential land for direct sale from the application list. We will also consider announcing the land sales program in advance on a quarterly basis."

But he warned: "I will have no hesitation introducing further measures to prevent the risk of a property bubble."

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said three of the nine residential sites will be auctioned next month.

They include the former Lingnan College on Stubbs Road, a Begonia Road site in Kowloon Tong and a Ngau Tam Mei site in Yuen Long.

In June, residential sites at Borrett Road in Mid-Levels and at Ping Shan, Yuen Long, will go on sale, while a site in Tung Chung will be put up for tender with flat-size restrictions. A commercial site at Queen's Road East for hotel use will seek tenders in May, along with land allocated for business use on Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong.

In June, a commercial site at the junction of Kai Cheung and Wang Kwong Roads in Kowloon Bay will
be open for tender.

The nine residential sites are expected to contain about 2,650 units, 70 percent of which will be small and medium-sized.

It is estimated the 12 sites will altogether bring the government about HK$21.27 billion to HK$23 billion.

The government halted regular auctions in 2002. Lam denied suggestions the application list is no longer in use, saying authorities are using a two-pronged system.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University professor Eddie Hui Chi-man said the move shows the government's determination to cool the housing market.

But Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung does not think the sales will affect home prices.

Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong executive committee chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin notes government-initiated land sales will not replace the application list to which developers turn for new land banks.

"The new land supply is unlikely to lead to a drop in flat prices as supply will not be realized until a few years later," DTZ's head of consulting Alva To said, adding the auctions may, in fact, boost prices of nearby properties.

According to Midland Realty, Lingnan College may fetch HK$4.16 billion - representing an accommodation value of HK$23,000 - while the Borrett Road site could be worth HK$10 billion, or HK$23,000. The Kowloon Tong plot could fetch HK$370 million, or HK$10,000.

"Undoubtedly, the demand for residential units in Hong Kong remains huge," said Ringo Lam Chun-chiu, a director of AG Wilkinson & Associates.

"The new land supply may prevent housing prices from increasing too fast."

But the 2,650 new flats will not stop prices from surging, Ricacorp head of research Patrick Chow Moon-kit said.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #1187
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New lease of life for buildings
The Standard
Thursday, April 14, 2011

More than two in every five applications to revitalize old industrial buildings have been approved, the Development Bureau said.

Of the 47 applications made to the Lands Department, 20 were approved since last April. They include 13 buildings in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay that will be completely converted and seven buildings in Yau Tong, Cheung Sha Wan and Kwun Tong that will be redeveloped.

While the converted premises will be used as offices, restaurants, shops and hotels, the redeveloped buildings will be mainly residential, commercial and for hotels.

The bureau will consider suggestions made by stakeholders.

"Some of them feel the present requirement to retain the existing frame of the converted building is too restrictive while others want to build on the outside area including the walls to compensate for losing the gross floor area after the conversion," the bureau said.

All suggestions will be considered during the bureau's mid-term review, it added.

The government is encouraging vacant or underutilized industrial buildings to be either redeveloped or converted so as to optimize their usage.

Under the current Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, industrial buildings must be at least 15 years old and should be in industrial, commercial or other specified business zones.

Meanwhile, the bureau will seek approval of HK$768.8 million from the Legislative Council's Finance Committee in the second quarter of this year to buy and convert an industrial building. It will house the Water Supplies Department's regional office that is now located in Mong Kok. When completed in 2015, it will also have a water conservation education center.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 06:55 PM   #1188
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Kerry Properties to launch Wong Tai Sin flats as prices keep rising
13 April 2011
South China Morning Post

Kerry Properties plans to start launching its 968-unit residential development Lions Rise in Wong Tai Sin by the Easter holidays, with an average targeted price of HK$12,000 per square foot.

Chu Ip-pui, executive director of Kerry Properties, said the company has used another of its developments, Island Crest in Sai Ying Pun, as a price reference rather than the older properties in the area.

"Flats at upper floors of Island Crest have been sold at more than HK$20,000 per sq ft," said Chu, who said the quality of Lions Rise was comparable to Island Crest.

"We are confident in the project as it is the first new major development to be built in Wong Tai Sin over the past decade," said Chu. The company does not expect any new sizeable developments in Wong Tai Sin in the next decade.

Prices of many housing developments, aged about 20 years old, in Wong Tai Sin are mainly sold at around HK$3,500 per sq ft to HK$5,500 per sq ft.

Chu expects to obtain pre-sale consent from the government in the next two weeks. "We hope to launch the project by Easter and the property will be sold in phases."

The development comprises five towers providing 968 units, with most of the apartments offering three or more bedrooms.

Lions Rise has 140,000 sq ft of club facilities and landscaped gardens, and is next to the Wong Tai Sin MTR station. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, while the handover will start in the third quarter of next year.

In the face of a number of residential developments being sold in the coming weeks, Chu said these projects together comprise a total of more than 3,000 flats.

Chu said home prices in the city are generally quite high. "But there is demand for flats in the market," he said.

Meanwhile, Cheung Kong (Holdings) announced the price list of its 734-unit Uptown development in Yuen Long. The first batch of 108 units go on the market at an average price of about HK$5,000 per sq ft.

Another developer, Kowloon Development, yesterday said it would raise prices of the remaining units at Mount East in North Point to HK$13,000 to HK$18,000 per sq ft. This compared to the selling price of HK$11,000 per sq ft in 2010.

Lee Wee Liat, head of regional research at Samsung Securities (Asia) said: "We expect a divergence in sales performance as six new primary launches are set to hit the market over the Easter holidays and the May 1 "golden week". We are more optimistic on projects with flexible pricing and offerings, while remaining cautious on those that are aggressively priced."

Kerry Properties is part of the Kerry Group, the controlling shareholder of SCMP Group, which publishes the South China Morning Post.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #1189
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Property comparisons with 1997 high put to the sword
The Standard
Monday, April 18, 2011

The executive director of Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) describes people who insist on comparing current property prices with those in 1997 as "stubborn."

Justin Chiu Kwok-hung referred to a Chinese proverb that basically suggests a person who drops a sword in the river, and makes a mark on the boat to indicate where the sword fell, isn't being realistic if he expects to retrieve the sword from the same spot, since tides or other conditions would have shifted.

"This [proverb] describes those who compare the current property market to that of 1997," Chiu told The Standard.

Last week Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah expressed deep concern that overall property prices in February have surpassed the peak in 1997, before the bubble burst in 1998.

To prevent the property market from bursting again, the government will sell nine sites in the next two months aimed at providing a total of 2,650 flats.

Luxury home prices surpassed 1997 levels in the third quarter of 2010, followed by prices in the major mass- market private housing estates in the first quarter.

"There weren't many mainlanders buying flats in Hong Kong in 1997, when we had 20,000 new flats each year," Chiu said.

"We have been building less than that for many years. The tables have turned, and we shouldn't use the levels of 1997 as a yardstick."

After the 1998 crash, the government tightened land sales, leading to a steady drop in the supply of private residential units. Flat completions fell from the peak of 30,900 in 1999 to their lowest level of just 7,200 in 2009. Last year, the figure rebounded to 13,400, and now the government aims to facilitate an annual supply of 30,000 to 40,000 units.

"Back in 1997, the mortgage loan rate was about 10 percent, while now it's less than 2 percent. Banks are also comparatively safe and sound," Chiu said.

He added that he does not foresee any risk for the time being, as the global economy has been recovering.

But the Hong Kong Monetary Authority expressed concern last Monday over fast credit growth, attributing part of it to a surge in mortgage loans.

Commenting on the government's reluctance to revive the Home Ownership Scheme, Chiu said the administration probably wants to avoid a direct impact on the property market.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 06:05 AM   #1190
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Jumping the gun
The Standard
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hung Hom home owners have already started jacking up their flat prices - weeks ahead of the first public land auction this fiscal year, with bidding expected to be hot and heavy.
The plot to be sold is at 7 Ko Shan Road, the previous address of the Customs and Excise Service Married Quarters. Surveyors expect the 20,470-square-foot site to fetch HK$1.07 billion to HK$1.53 billion when auctioned on April 27.

But, according to Ricacorp, existing home owners in Hung Hom started raising their asking prices as early as two weeks ago in anticipation - tacking on 5 to 10 percent. Meanwhile, about 100 of the 500 flats listed for sale have been pulled from the market.

"Many home owners are reluctant to sell their flats now, because they want to wait and see how the land auction will turn out," said George Lam, a Ricacorp agent in Hung Hom.

"Many cases from the past showed that land auctions often lift prices of flats in the secondary market nearby, so it's not surprising to see home owners hold on to their units."

Flats on the Hung Hom market generally range in size from 400 to 2,000 square feet, priced around HK$9,000 per square foot on average.

Property deals in the area dropped about 50 percent after the government announced details of the land auction two weeks ago. The government initiated the sale of the Ko Shan Road plot after its budget announcement in February.

Major developers that have expressed interest in bidding include Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001), Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), K Wah International (0173), Sino Land (0083), Emperor International (0163), Wing Tai Properties (0369) and Chinachem Group.

"I think we will see some competition in the auction," said Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tze- pun. "The plot is a rare one in the city. It is close to the future home of the Ho Man Tin MTR station. The new flats put on market lately also boosted the developers' sentiment."

Last October Chinachem won a plot at 3 and 5 Ede Road, in Kowloon Tong, for HK$1.63 billion - 55 percent higher than the trigger price. Nearby home owners immediately raised their asking prices by 5 to 10 percent.

Several attempts were made by developers to trigger the Hung Hom plot under the land application list last year, but all failed.

Lam expects a 30-story residential block to be built on the site, providing about 150 to 200 flats. The site has a plot ratio of 7.5 times, with gross floor area limited to 153,520 sq ft, and maximum height of 120 meters.

There are some new development restrictions. For example, a 10 percent cap is placed on the building's "inflated areas" - floor areas buyers pay for that include areas of greenery and amenity facilities.

In addition, at least 20 percent of the plot area needs to be planted with trees and shrubs, or other greenery.

Meanwhile, the government announced yesterday that it plans to auction off another five plots of land in the next two months. However, Lam doesn't expect this to dampen the developers' enthusiasm over the Ko Shan Road site.

"Three of the five new plots are in the traditional luxury areas. But still, they are of different kinds, and can't be compared to the Ko Shan Road plot."

Another two sites in Hung Hom - 6,189 sq ft at the junction of Bulkeley Street and Gillies Avenue South, and 13,982 sq ft at 5-23 Lee Kung Street - will be sold by tender in the next two months. Centaline expects the winning tenders of these two plots to reach up to HK$390 million and HK$880 million respectively.

Tender submissions will be accepted starting on April 29, with a cutoff date of June 3.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #1191
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #1192
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Drainage Services Department responds to Coroner's findings on flooding incident at Sha Po Tsai Village
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Government Press Release





In response to the findings of the Coroner's Court today (April 20) on the cause of death of a man during a flooding incident at Sha Po Tsai Village on July 22 last year, a spokesman for the Drainage Services Department (DSD) said:

"DSD respects the findings of the Coroner's Court on the incident and will carefully study the recommendations made to DSD by the court in relation to the incident.

"After the incident, DSD quickly completed flood relief works in Sha Po Tsai Village to ensure that daily life could return to normal. These relief works included cleaning up Sha Po Tsai Village, reinstating pedestrian access and railings as well as assisting the villagers in repairing the houses that were affected by the flooding. In order to reduce the flood risk, DSD implemented measures to increase the drainage capacity of Tai Po River. DSD also completed a review of its on-going river improvement works in various parts of the territory, so as to ensure that the flow capacities of these rivers will not be adversely affected by any construction works during heavy downpours.

"In addition, DSD has completed some short-term improvement works to minimise the flood risk at Sha Po Tsai Village in advance of the 2011 rainy season. The works, which aim to increase the drainage capacity of the river and reduce the possibility of blockage, include deepening and widening certain reaches of Tai Po River, re-constructing an existing footbridge to a higher level, installing additional drainage pipes across four existing pedestrian river crossings, and installing additional grilles and fencing at the completed boulder trap.

"DSD's Tai Po River improvement project is scheduled for completion before the rainy season of 2012, whereupon flood risks at Sha Po Tsai Village will be reduced considerably. DSD has implemented a series of monitoring measures at Sha Po Tsai prior to the completion of the river improvement project. In collaboration with Hong Kong Observatory, DSD has put in place a Regional Rainfall Alert System for Sha Po Tsai Village in Tai Po to notify villagers to evacuate if the rainfall intensity in the vicinity of Sha Po Tsai Village reaches certain levels. If necessary, DSD will also liaise with the Home Affairs Department to set up temporary accommodation for the villagers."
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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:15 AM   #1193
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Ombudsman raps officials over slow checks of illegal structures
The Standard
Wednesday, April 20, 2011



The Ombudsman has accused the Buildings Department of indirectly colluding with builders of illegal structures by not cracking down quickly enough, or by doing nothing.

Alan Lai Nin said this is especially true in rural villages, where failure to act on work-in-progress sites means they may be completed before an inspection is carried out.

He said since 2006, enforcement is mainly confined to unauthorized WIP sites, while work that is almost finished is tolerated.

From 2007 to 2010, there were 2,400 WIP cases - 1,645 cases of which were not subjected to action, as they were "practically completed."

Of 721 demolition orders, only 285 cases were resolved as of February.

"Such a WIP policy merely encourages the erection of fast-to- build illegal structures to evade enforcement," Lai said. "The current WIP policy restricts enforcement, and the problem will only become worse."

Frank Li Wing-chi, the watchdog's chief investigator, said one case involved a 2008 complaint about a swimming pool being illegally built. The Lands Department made four attempts to enter the premises in seven months, but was refused entry.

"The case was transferred to the Buildings Department in April 2009, and by the time it finally managed to enter the premises in May 2009, the pool was already completed," Li said.

In March 2007, no action was taken about walls of 2.5 to 3.1 meters being built around village houses, higher than the 1.8m permitted.

The Ombudsman suggested the WIP policy be scrapped and that the Buildings and Lands departments expedite checks of unauthorized works in urban and rural areas.

A Development Bureau spokesman said it will "follow up the suggestions on a proactive basis" and admitted "the current enforcement strategy on illegal structure has room for improvement."
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:56 AM   #1194
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Thanks for sharing this information
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:54 AM   #1195
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Similar to what happened in Manila in late 2010, only difference is it was a gas pipe not a water line.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:56 PM   #1196
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5-9 Yuk Yat Street, To Kwa Kwan
Project Details : http://www.kerryprops.com/kpl/en/pro...20project.html

Rendering



4/9

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Old April 26th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #1197
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... but sellers gear up for Golden Week
The Standard
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Developers are gearing up to grab more sales during the May 1 Golden Week holiday as competition quickens in the primary property market.

Cheung Kong (0001) plans to host eight roadshows in Shenzhen on Thursday and Friday, targeting more than 1,000 potential mainland millionaire homebuyers for its Yuen Long project Uptown.

"We have also reserved lucky number flats at low, medium and high levels especially for these buyers," Cheung Kong Real Estate director William Kwok Tsz-wai said.

More than 100 flats in Uptown were sold over three days of the Easter holidays, each priced at an average of HK$4,900 per square foot.

About 12 percent of buyers were from the mainland.

Effective today, the developer has raised the price on 18 flats by at least 8 percent.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) also plans to lure mainland buyers with its flats at Avignon in Tuen Mun.

"Sales during the holidays went well, and we plan to put more four-room flats on the market during Golden Week," said Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency senior sales and marketing manager Tam Sik-cham.

The developer put 192 flats in the project on the market over Easter, expecting to reap more than HK$1 billion.

Emperor International (0163) plans to put the rest of its flats at Upper East 18 in Sai Wan Ho on the market during Golden Week.

More than 60 of 94 flats have been sold since their launch a week ago. The project has a total of 108 homes, with the prices of 14 yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, Sino Land (0083) sold the first 50 flats of Maison Rose, its new residential project at Cheung Sha Wan, over Easter, priced from HK$2.4 million, or HK$6,270 psf.

The developer offered another 28 flats yesterday, priced between HK$2.5 million and HK$3.31 million, or HK$6,553 to HK$8,366 psf.

The project has a total of 96 flats, sized from 363 to 396 sq ft.

The developer introduced the first 50 flats last Thursday, and immediately received around 400 reservations from interested buyers.

Construction is complete and the developer has received the occupation permit from the government.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:08 AM   #1198
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Pre-sale consent eludes Lions Rise
The Standard
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lions Rise - the latest project by Kerry Properties (0683) - has yet to receive consent from the Lands Department to put its Wong Tai Sin development on the market during the upcoming Golden Week holiday.

But Kerry still hopes to start pre- selling the units within the first half of next month.

"We have got 10,000 inquiries so far," executive director Chu Ip-pui said. "Most are from local end-users."

The project has 960 units spread over five towers.

Kerry plans to launch up to 60 in the first batch, comprising three-bedroom units of 936 square feet and two- bedroom units of 740 sq ft.

They are expected to fetch an average price of HK$16,000 psf, Chu said.

Larger three-bedroom flats of 1,276 sq ft and smaller two-bedroom ones of 640 sq ft will become available later.

Kerry is currently holding a roadshow in Shenzhen to promote the project.

Site tours will be organized for prospective mainland buyers after the project receives pre-sale consent, Chu said.

The developer plans to launch its next project, a residential development on Yuk Yat Street in To Kwa Wan next year. Authorities have already approved the floor plan of the 150,000 sq ft site, expected to house 180 units in sizes ranging from 600 sq ft to over 1,000 sq ft.

Meanwhile, 400 new flats were sold during the four-day Easter break but the secondary market stayed relatively quiet.

Developers will put more units on the market during the Golden Week starting this weekend.

But Midland Realty (1200) warned that mortgage rates will rise further and buyers should consider signing up for fixed-rate plans.

"Variable-rate mortgages are dominating the local market with a 99.8 percent market share," vice chairman Albert Wong Kam-hong said. "The risks will intensify as interest rates go up."

Wong noted that fixed-rate mortgages will help stabilize the property market and shield investors and homeowners from potential risks triggered by economic changes. A survey of 227 clients last week by brokerage firm mReferral found 80 percent will consider switching to fixed-rate mortgages if interest rates continue to rise.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:00 PM   #1199
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Gung-ho in Hung Hom
The Standard
Thursday, April 28, 2011





A dramatic bidding battle in the first land auction of the fiscal year drew in top cash and protesters yesterday - and immediately prompted homeowners in the area to push up their asking prices.

The site on Ko Shan Road in Hung Hom fetched HK$1.525 billion.

Nan Fung Development and Wing Tai Properties (0369) snapped up the 20,470-square-foot plot with the 88th bid.

The partners - each holding 50 percent of the project - beat eight other bidders, including Sino Land (0083) and Chinachem Group. With a plot ratio of 7.5, the accommodation value is HK$9,934 psf.

Some homeowners in the district lifted their prices by 5 to 10 percent right after the auction, said Centaline director Davey Bow Chi-tak.

And Midland Realty (1200) analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai expects the number of sales in Hung Hom to grow 5 to 10 percent in the wake of the auction.

Lands Department deputy director and auctioneer Graham Ross was forced to stop the bidding four times as noisy demonstrators, some with placards, protested against rising home costs. They were escorted out of the auction. The winning bid came in at the upper end of market estimates of between HK$1.07 billion and HK$1.53 billion.

Nan Fung managing director Donald Choi Wun-hing said the joint project will require another HK$500 million to HK$600 million to build more than 100 flats, mainly with two to four bedrooms.

Choi said the 10 percent cap on the building's "inflated areas" - such as green and common spaces - did not h
ave much impact on the auction.

"The site has its own advantages, including an MTR station nearby in a few years," said Choi.

Gung-ho bidders were aggressive right up to the 37th bid, when only two remained.

Nan Fung and Chun Wo Development (0711) were locked in a tight contest to the end. The two accounted for 60 bids, including the final 52 calls after each bid increment was halved to HK$5 million.

Auctioneer Ross said the price reflects the optimism of many developers on the local property market.

Savills managing director Charles Chan Chiu-kwok expects the completed homes to sell for HK$14,000 to HK$15,000 psf.

But the high auction price is not an indicator for two other plots in the same district, according to Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat.

"The plot sold [yesterday] is much better than the others," he said.

All three plots are designated for small and medium-sized flats.

Nan Fung's Choi said his firm is looking into details of the two other plots - a 6,189 sq ft site at the junction of Bulkeley Street and Gillies Avenue South, and a 13,982 sq ft site at 5-23 Lee Kung Street.

Centaline expects the winning tenders for these two plots to reach up to HK$390 million and HK$880 million, respectively.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 06:10 PM   #1200
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Kowloon Tong Construction
Source : http://www.fotop.net/CK525/beaconhill2011

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