20th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Local media, HK01 has uncovered alleged violations committed by Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College, located in Tai Wai’s Mei Lam Estate, during the expansion of its principal’s office in April. The school is said to have illegally demolished a load-bearing wall measuring approximately 3.6 meters by 2.7 meters, resulting in an expanded office area six times larger than the standard units in The Lohas. The college has admitted that one of the load-bearing walls was mistakenly removed by the contractor involved in the expansion project. They claim to have promptly reported the incident to the Buildings Department and completed the necessary repairs in August. The funding for the restoration work was provided by the school’s board of directors and did not involve public funds.
However, the Buildings Department has stated that they received a complaint in June regarding the partial demolition of the structural wall in the principal’s office. Although there was no immediate danger to the structure, the department has requested that the school reinstate the wall. The Education Bureau has instructed the school to conduct an investigation and submit a report. If the violation is confirmed, the school may face severe warnings. According to engineers’ estimates, the restoration work is expected to cost around HK$300,000.
The expansion of the principal’s office at Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College involved the unauthorised demolition of a load-bearing wall measuring approximately 3.6 meters by 2.7 meters. The expansion doubled the office space, increasing it to 250 square feet. The area behind the workers in the image provided showed the demolished load-bearing wall, which was later converted into an entrance. The red circle indicates suspected steel reinforcements.
Prior to the expansion, the principal’s office at Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College, located in the school administration area on the ground floor, was only approximately 125 square feet. Former staff members revealed that in April, Principal Lee Kang-pan justified the demolition of a nearby 500-square-foot English classroom by claiming the need for a new conference room. Half of the space was allocated for the conference room, while one-fourth was used to expand the principal’s office. The remaining space was converted into a storage room. As a result of the expansion, the principal’s office area doubled to 250 square feet.
The demolition of the English classroom and removal of the load-bearing wall connecting it to the principal’s office was completed over a ten-day period during the Easter holidays in April. The load-bearing wall that was removed measured 3.6 meters wide, 2.7 meters high, and approximately 0.125 meters thick.
After the expansion, the principal’s office accommodated an additional desk and several chairs for meetings. Furthermore, an entrance was created in the same load-bearing wall outside the principal’s office, leading to the storage room. A photograph of this entrance was obtained by reporters, and it was confirmed that the entrance had been restored by August.