1st December 2023 – (Hong Kong) A property owner has been convicted and fined over $70,000 at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts for failing to comply with a removal order issued under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Cap. 123).
The case revolves around a five-storey unauthorised village house located in Sai Pin Wai, Yuen Long. Each storey of the building spans approximately 28 square metres. Since the Lands Department did not issue a certificate of exemption for the structure, it does not qualify as a New Territories Exempted House under the Buildings Ordinance (Application to the New Territories) Ordinance (Cap. 121). The owner carried out unauthorised building works (UBWs) without obtaining the necessary prior approval and consent from the Buildings Department (BD). Consequently, a removal order was served on the owner in accordance with section 24(1) of the BO.
Following the owner’s failure to comply with the removal order, the BD initiated legal action, resulting in a conviction at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts on November 24. The owner was fined a total of $77,050.
A spokesperson for the BD emphasized the significance of adhering to removal orders promptly. The spokesperson stated, “Failure to comply with removal orders can have serious consequences. Owners must act without delay. The BD will continue to enforce removal orders and take legal action against owners who fail to comply, ensuring the safety of buildings.”
Non-compliance with a removal order without a valid excuse is a significant offence under the BO. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. Additionally, a further fine of $20,000 may be imposed for each day that the offence persists.