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Kai Tak site accident being probed

The Government expressed that it is highly concerned about an accident involving the collapse of a bamboo scaffold at a Kai Tak construction site today in which two workers were killed and three others injured.   A preliminarily investigation by the Buildings Department (BD) found that the scaffold, measuring about 15m by 8m, fell to the ground from the external wall on the 19th floor of a building under construction.   The BD said it will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the incident, including whether the scaffold, as temporary works, complied with the Buildings Ordinance and whether the registered contractor and any related persons have properly discharged their responsibilities.   It added that if anyone is found in contravention of the ordinance, it will take follow-up actions, including instigating prosecution and referring to the Contractors Disciplinary Board for disciplinary proceedings.   The Labour Department (LD) also launched an immed

Land enforcement results notable

The Lands Department today said its Special Duties Task Force, focusing on more serious cases of government land occupation since its establishment in mid-2019, has achieved notable results with regard to land enforcement.   The department said that the task force identified 100 black spots that involved unlawful occupation of sizeable government land for brownfield operations in mid-2019.   Up to last December, it completed clearance of 77 black spots. Among these spots, as some of them also involved breaches of lease conditions governing private land, the task force has taken lease enforcement actions in parallel.   As a result, a cumulative total of more than 20 hectares of unlawfully occupied government land have been tackled, and lease enforcement actions have been carried out against 50 private lots involving lease breaches in the clearance operations, with the demolition of more than 300 illegal or unauthorised structures.   The department is confident in completing operations against the remaining black spots within this year.   The task force also assists District Lands Offices in the New Territories in handling cases of relatively serious land irregularities and other backlog cases.   The cases include unlawful occupation of government land and breach of lease conditions governing private agricultural land such as construction of residential structures, including subdivided flats, workshops or godowns.   The task force has completed 20 serious cases so far, with over four hectares of government land cleared and lease enforcement actions taken against lease breaches involving nearly 50 private lots. More than 200 illegal or unauthorised structures have been demolished.   As for other backlog cases, the task force has completed a cumulative total of over 800 cases, with the clearance of almost seven hectares of government land and demolition of more than 200 structures unlawfully occupying government land.   Of these cases, six involving failure to cease occupation of government land before the specified deadlines resulted in prosecution. Five of them have already been heard, all with offenders convicted and fined. The remaining case is yet to be heard.   As for breach of lease conditions governing private agricultural land, the task force will take further lease enforcement actions against lots with unrectified breaches, including possible re-entry of the agricultural land under the Government Rights (Re-entry & Vesting Remedies) Ordinance.   The task force will process regularisation applications involving government land and private lots which meet the requisite requirements and conditions according to the existing mechanism.   For regularisation applications in respect of government land, the department will first charge an administrative fee and recover rents at market value calculated from the date of occupation of the land. Applicants are also required to pay a one-off punitive fee equivalent to 12 months' market rent.   As for regularisation applications involving private land, the department will charge an administrative fee and a deposit, and recover from the owner the waiver fee calculated from the date of the lease breaches.   Those who unlawfully occupy government land will be liable to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months on the first occasion, and to a further daily fine of $50,000 for non-compliance with the statutory notice.

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