BY ALICE ZHAO
HONG KONG – It is just an ordinary Thursday as any other Thursday. Six cranes are parking outside at No.7 York Road in Kowloon Tong, with long necks stretching into the yard. The big machines are not used for lifting heavy materials, instead, they are new tools for Hong Kong journalists to get a better view of next Chief Executive Candidate’s illegally built home.
Henry Tang Ying-yen, one of the three promising candidates running for the leader of Hong Kong in March this year, is suspected to have illegal structures in one of his properties. Tang apologized before a team of Buildings Department officials finished an inspection that later proved the basement was illegal.
The local Chinese newspaper Mingpao first revealed that Tang’s house at the No.7 York Road has an illegal basement with a total floor size of 2,400 sq ft – larger than the 2,217 sq ft footprint of the house. Then the Chinese-language tabloid Sharp Daily claimed in its Wednesday evening edition that Tang’s “Underground Palace” contains a wine cellar, Japanese onsen-style bathtub, theater room and wine-tasting area.
Someone pointed out that the reporter from Mingpao, which published the scoop story on the illegal structures at Tang’s home, was a distant relative of Leung Chun-ying, Tang’s main rival for the chief executive campaign. According to the South China Morning Post, Leung said he did not know the situation and would not comment on the controversy surrounding Tang.
“The battle field of the Hong Kong Chief Executive Campaign is more exciting than any movie,” said Willy Ho, a 22-year-old Hong Kong citizen concerned with the political campaign.
Earlier this month, Leung Chun-ying, the other favorable candidate, was alleged to have lost his credibility, as the government released a press release saying Leung had business connections with a contestant in a design competition a decade ago for the West Kowloon arts hub in which he was a juror.