Date
12 December 2018
MTR says it now believes that it was staff from a subcontractor who had tried to cut corners while doing work at a platform at Hung Hom station. Photo: HKEJ
MTR says it now believes that it was staff from a subcontractor who had tried to cut corners while doing work at a platform at Hung Hom station. Photo: HKEJ

MTR blames subcontractor for work lapses at Hung Hom station

MTR Corporation has identified a subcontractor as the likely entity responsible for shoddy work, which was later rectified, at a train station that will serve the Sha Tin-Central rail link.

A day after claiming that the railway operator wasn’t sure who was to be blamed for some sub-par construction at the Hung Hom station, an official said on Thursday that it was workers from subcontractor Fang Sheung Construction who are believed to have cut corners during their duty. 

Philco Wong, MTR’s projects director, said on an RTHK radio program that Fang Sheung staff are suspected to have cut short steel bars used to secure a newly built platform to the walls, as they sought to cover up faulty installation.

The subcontracting staff is to blame as they were the only workers at the site during the time when that installation was undertaken, Wong said, citing a work monitor’s report.

Frederick Ma, MTR Corp chairman, meanwhile said project staff should report to the rail firm’s Capital Works Committee if they face a similar situation again on work-standards lapses. 

Ma agreed that main contractor Leighton (Asia) owes the public an explanation as it was ultimately responsible for ensuring that all screw caps on steel bars were properly installed.

There has been no response yet from either Leighton or Fang Sheung Construction on the matter.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-Ting said he was puzzled by MTR’s change in statement.

The reliability of the testament of the staff simply based on memory is questionable as MTR appears to have not kept written records, Lam said.

The lawmaker said he will support a motion to set up a committee to investigate the matter.

Following the controversy, MTR has commissioned Wong Chi-ming, a senior structural engineer, to conduct a load test on the Hung Hom station facilities.

“Because they haven’t got the expected weight for passengers yet, we will test for a heavy load,” the expert said during a phone interview with i-Cable News.

“I am still working out specific details of the test,” he said, adding that the load tests are more effective compared to examining rebar in randomly opened concrete.

The structural engineer had in the past handled investigations on other construction-related incidents, including the roof collapse that took place in 2016 at City University’s sports center.

KN/RC

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