Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan had supported a decision to scrap a single-developer arrangement for the West Kowloon Cultural District project, a Hong Kong court heard Wednesday.
After being elevated to the top civil service post in 2005, Hui is said to have chaired a meeting of the Steering Committee for Development of the West Kowloon Cultural District for the first time.
Then he received a committee report that showed that the World City Culture Park designed by Henderson Land got the highest marks among the three finalists, Danny Lau Kam-chuen, former Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs, told the court, according to RTHK.
Lau is now the director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Chengdu. He had been involved in the West Kowloon project during his time at two policy bureaus.
A plan submitted by Dynamic Star International, a joint venture of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (00001.HK) and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK), was said to have been ranked the second among the contenders for the cultural district project. Sunny Development from Sino Land was the third bidder.
But a public consultation held between the end of 2004 and mid-2005 showed that Dynamic Star’s proposal was the most popular among the public.
Hui endorsed a decision to cancel the single development approach and supported the idea of inviting other property firms to participate in commercial and residential development in the area, the report quoted Lau as saying.
Hui also said in a meeting that the West Kowloon Cultural District project should not be awarded to a single developer, as the public may suspect collusion between developers and government officials, according to minutes from a discussion in August 2005.
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