Property owner given suspended jail sentence for persistently not complying with removal order
A property owner was sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months at the Tuen Mun Magistrates' Courts earlier this month for failing to comply with a removal order issued under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Cap. 123).
The order involved an unauthorised flat roof structure of about 85 square metres at a composite building on Tseng Choi Street, Tuen Mun. As the unauthorised building works (UBWs) were carried out without prior approval and consent from the Buildings Department (BD), a removal order was served on the owner under section 24(1) of the BO.
Persistently failing to comply with the removal order, the owner was prosecuted by the BD four times and was fined about $60,000 in total upon conviction at the Tuen Mun Magistrates' Courts. However, the owner persisted in not complying with the removal order and the BD instigated prosecution against the owner again in mid-2022. The owner was convicted on August 19, 2022, and sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months on January 6.
A spokesman for the BD said today (January 19), "UBWs may adversely affect the structural and fire safety of a building, leading to serious consequences. Owners must comply with removal orders without delay. The BD will continue to take enforcement action against owners who have failed to comply with removal orders (including instigation of prosecution) so as to ensure building safety."
Failure to comply with a removal order without a reasonable excuse is a serious offence under the BO. The maximum penalty upon conviction is one year's imprisonment and a fine of $200,000, and a further fine of $20,000 for each day that the offence continues.
Ends/Thursday, January 19, 2023