Date
17 November 2018
Michael Tien, who chairs a Legco railways panel, says he has received information from a source that around 20 per cent of the steel bars used in Hung Hom Station expansion project may have been cut short to cover up some work deficiency. Photo: HKEJ
Michael Tien, who chairs a Legco railways panel, says he has received information from a source that around 20 per cent of the steel bars used in Hung Hom Station expansion project may have been cut short to cover up some work deficiency. Photo: HKEJ

MTR’s Hung Hom issue may be bigger than we think: Michael Tien

Lawmaker Michael Tien said he has received word that around 20 percent of the steel bars used in the platform expansion project at MTR’s Hung Hom station may have been cut short to cover up a work deficiency.

That suggests there were 5,000 shortened steel bars in 26,000 coupling rebars in the shoddy construction work at Hung Hom in relation to the Shatin-Central Link.

“It’s most worrisome that the station may pass the loading test this time but in five to ten years, if something happened, it will stop the whole Link,” Tien said on a radio program on Sunday, citing information allegedly provided by an MTR insider.

The contractor Leighton (Asia) had not shown evidence that it had fixed the problems, said Tien, while criticizing the current system as being ridiculous and complicated, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Under the current entrustment agreement between MTR Corp and its contractors, if a problem is discovered and alterations are needed, government approval is needed every time, which is both complicated and time consuming.

To avoid delay, inspectors would be inclined to deal with contractors themselves rather than reporting to the management.

Tien suggested that the railway operator abandon the Entrustment Agreement system.

A reform is needed, he said, adding that in future MTR also needs to ensure that its chairman or the CEO should have an engineering background.

In response to Tien’s comments, MTR said it has already submitted a report to the government. If the report is deemed unclear, authorities are welcome to set up a investigation committee to look into the matter, the railway operator said.

The company has been refusing to disclose the number of trimmed rebars but said it discovered in a 2015 inspection that five rebars had been cut, and that four other inspections had revealed less than 5 trimmed rebars in each case.

KN/RC

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