Date
19 September 2017
An office is seen through a window on the 17th floor. Inspectors found other illegal structures on this floor and on the 27th floor of the 37-story Bank of America Tower. Photos:  Apple Daily, Xinhua
An office is seen through a window on the 17th floor. Inspectors found other illegal structures on this floor and on the 27th floor of the 37-story Bank of America Tower. Photos: Apple Daily, Xinhua

Bank of America Tower fire hazard ordered removed

Illegal structures have been found in the Bank of America Tower in Hong Kong’s central business district, posing a fire safety hazard.

The Buildings Department has ordered the bank to remove the structures on the 17th and 27th floors of the 37-story block.

The two floors are used as emergency evacuation areas in case of fire.

Several offices and storage facilities were found on these floors during a government inspection, Apple Daily reported Thursday.    

Building manager Jones Lang LaSalle said the storage rooms are temporary and are meant to be removed once ongoing engineering works are completed.

It did not say why offices were also built on the floors, which significantly reduced the fire evacuation area.     

Also, inspectors found several ventilation outlets meant to ensure ample air circulation for evacuees had been blocked.  

And reporters said the alarm systems on the fire and smoke doors on the 17th floor had been disabled.

The two floors have a combined 16,900 square feet of space, potentially worth up to HK$12.16 million a year in rental income if the entire floors are rented out.

The office tower, which opened in 1975, was the subject of a high-profile fraud case in the 1980s involving Carrian Group founder George Tan, a Singaporean civil engineer.

Bank of America bought the naming rights to the tower in 1983 but shares the building with mainland-based lenders including China Merchants Bank, Minsheng Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

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