Property owner given suspended jail sentence and fined for failing to comply with removal order
A property owner was sentenced to three months' imprisonment suspended for two years and fined $74,200 for failing to comply with a removal order under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123) (BO) at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts last week.
The removal order involved an illegal roof structure of 20 square metres in size and an illegal vent opening to the staircase of a residential building at Cheung Ning Street, Kowloon. As the owner failed to remove the unauthorised buildings works (UBWs) upon the expiry of the removal order, she was prosecuted by the Buildings Department (BD). The owner was convicted and fined $8,970 at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on July 12 last year. However, the owner still did not comply with the order and the BD instigated prosecution against the owner for the second time. The owner was convicted at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on January 17 this year.
The Court noticed that the defendant had over 10 records of not complying with removal orders at various properties and considered the seriousness of the case. After taking into account the defendant's background report and the defence counsel's mitigation, the court imposed a sentence of three months' imprisonment suspended for two years, plus a fine of HK$74,200, on March 2.
"UBWs may adversely affect the structural and fire safety of a building leading to serious consequences. Owners should seek professional advice before carrying out any building works in their premises," a spokesman for the BD said.
Pursuant to section 40(1BA) of the BO, any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with an order served on him or her under section 24(1) of the BO commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $200,000 and to imprisonment for one year, as well as a further fine of $20,000 for each day that the offence has continued.
Ends/Tuesday, March 6, 2018