An exposé by local citizen media Zaap Yau and HK Feature has linked former chief of police Tang King-shing and former fire chief Chan Chor-kam to rogue Yau Tong concrete firm China Concrete.
According to documents seen by Transit Jam, both Tang and Chan were listed as non-executive directors of the firm’s parent company Man Fai Tai Holdings in a prospectus ahead of the group’s failed IPO bid in 2018.
China Concrete has since run rings around law enforcement and environmental authorities, churning out concrete from two now-illegal plants in Yau Tong despite multiple shut-down orders from the government. Last month, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department revealed it had not found any environmental hygiene issues stemming from the illegal plants, while the Environmental Protection Department revealed it had initiated prosecutions for barely 5% of the alleged environmental crimes committed at the sites.
China Concrete’s tainted and illegal concrete supplies around 8-9% of Hong Kong’s construction demand, including mega projects and luxury housing from developers such as Henderson Land and Wheelock.
The firm is well known for having former government heavy-hitters on its side, with former Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen making the firm’s case in the High Court in August 2022. The former Department of Justice chief claimed, unsuccessfully, that the firm had been unfairly targeted by authorities wishing to move the plants.
Remarkably, after losing its High Court appeal, the China Concrete plants have continued daily operations unmolested by authorities.
A deadly incident at one plant entrance, where a worker was crushed by a concrete truck, highlighted some of the cowboy practices by China Concrete – yet it also emerged last year that the Labour Department had last visited the danger sites 18 months before that, according to the government, with officials struggling to explain their lack of action.
The whole block around the plants is a barren and lawless zone, with resident complaints of pollution and danger going unheeded for years.
Former police chief Tang served from 2007 to 2011 and was later appointed to the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He controversially took a top job with Hong Kong Airlines in 2016: Oriental Daily then questioned whether such police officers had “feathered their nests” before leaving office, noting that Tang was amongst five police chiefs taking up high-calibre business positions after retirement.
Fire chief Chan served from 2011 to 2014. His tenure was wracked with controversy, including spending $350,000 per year on flowers, putting secret cameras on ambulances and fire trucks and wasting $700 million on a dispatch system that repeatedly crashed. He left the fire service in, according to local media, “an unmanageable mess” with ICAC investigating corruption complaints and 1,500 service complaints outstanding.
While China Concrete continues to operate illegally, the government has since said it will sanction the firm and not allow it to bid for a new concrete plant proposed for the so-called “Area 132” reclaimed land off Yau Tong.
Categories: Law and Enforcement