Illegal extensions to properties have become a hot topic in Hong Kong. It is so hot that even the most powerful and prominent people in town are “burnt”, including the chief executive of the HK Government Donald Tsang, numerous other high-ranking officials and legislative councilors, and celebrities such as prominent horse trainer Tony Cruz and entertainer Nicholas Tse Ting-fung. Even a Deputy Judge was recently revealed to have illegal structures at her property.
Under Hong Kong’s Buildings Ordinance, having extra structures added to a building is considered unauthorized building works. This is particularly common in the New Territories, to which the government has turned a blind eye due to historical reasons as well as inability and unwillingness to act.
Typical unauthorized structures are building a rooftop or a glass house on the roof, or adding a structure to the balcony so as to maximize the space of one’s property. A property of Government Chief Executive Donald Tsang, for instance, has windows added to the balcony. For those in possession of a big house, they may just opt to build a small house in the courtyard.
I am at a loss to describe this phenomenon. What does it say? Why are even the rich and the powerful that eager to maximize their properties and space despite what they have already. Enough is not enough?