Date
18 November 2017
Rita Lau, a former top official in Hong Kong's housing, planning and lands department, speaks to reporters after giving evidence in a corruption trial involving Sun Hung Kai owners and former chief secretary Rafael Hui. Photo: HKEJ
Rita Lau, a former top official in Hong Kong's housing, planning and lands department, speaks to reporters after giving evidence in a corruption trial involving Sun Hung Kai owners and former chief secretary Rafael Hui. Photo: HKEJ

Sun Hung Kai threatened to abandon Ma Wan project, court told

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK) had threatened to pull out of a Ma Wan project as it sought to pressure the government into allowing more land transport connections to the island, the Hong Kong High Court heard Wednesday.

The developer said construction of the Ma Wan Park may be delayed or abandoned if the government did not agree to a higher proportion of transport links to the area by land instead of ferry, Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan, a former permanent secretary for housing, planning and lands, told the court Wednesday.

Lau, who represented the government in the negotiation with Sun Hung Kai in 2005, testified at the corruption trial involving senior management of the developer and former Hong Kong chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday

The developer’s remarks were meant to put pressure on the government, but “we considered that to be a bluff”, Lau told the court.

Lau also said that Hui did not report any conflict of interests when the former Hong Kong number two took charge of the steering committee for the West Kowloon project for which Sun Hung Kai submitted a development proposal.

Hui set up an independent agency seeking public support for hiring a single developer to work on the West Kowloon development despite concerns about transferring of benefits between the successful bidder and the government. The project was pulled off in 2006 and relaunched afterward with the abandoning of the preference for a single developer.

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