More evidence of shoddy work at the MTR Corporation’s Shatin-Central Link project has surfaced as several local media outfits received video clips showing that workers had failed to join rebar cages properly at the Hung Hom station platform.
The cages were installed to reinforce the diaphragm walls at the Hung Hom platform extension for the multibillion-dollar rail project.
Footage of the construction work, filmed in 2013, shows that the reinforcing bars in the cages had not been completely screwed into the couplers, or connecting devices, while others were not even connected to the couplers at all, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The video clips also show personnel wearing white safety helmets with the MTR logo, indicating that representatives of the rail operator were aware of what was going on.
Responding to media inquiries, MTR Corp. said it was unclear about when and where the footage was shot but admitted that it is possible that the rebars could not completely fit into the couplers because of irregularities during the construction.
Normally, the worker must redo the connection if the rebars are not properly joined. The MTR staff will also inspect the work again to make sure the splice complies with the plan and regulations, a spokesman for the MTR said.
Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong expressed shock over the latest revelation, saying that she believes the construction scandal is not merely a problem of notification and inspection but may involve a conspiracy to defraud.
She suggested the police should proactively look into the matter and did not rule out proposing again the setting up of a Legislative Council committee to investigate the entire SCL construction by invoking the Legco (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman for the Legco subcommittee on matters relating to railways, also said he is worried about the structural safety of the Hung Hom MTR station.
Citing an expert’s opinion, Tien said the tests MTR Corp. is going to undertake at the station will only involve the couplers, but not the structural problem inside the wall.
The cage can be deformed if there are too many problematic rebars, Tien noted.
The Legco railway subcommittee held a meeting on the Hung Hom station construction on Friday.
Jason Poon Chuk-hung, managing director of China Technology Corporation, the subcontractor in charge of the Hung Hom station platform extension, attended the meeting.
But Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan, Director of Highways Daniel Chung Kum-wah and members of the MTR management were absent.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting had earlier proposed a motion demanding that the MTR disclose more information about the rail project.
The motion was supported by Tien, but it was defeated by the pro-establishment camp with a 33-25 vote.
New People’s Party legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said establishing another committee to look into the matter would not be efficient, considering that the government has already formed an independent inquiry for the purpose.
Acting Secretary for Transport and Housing Raymond So Wai-man said the documents Lam was demanding would only distort the investigation.
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