Office of LegCo Member

15 JUNE 1996


Since the formulation of the Long Term Housing Strategy by the Administration in 1987, and the implementation of large scale public rental housing redevelopment programme, the Housing Authority has been announcing to the public in April each year the Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme (CRP) for the coming five years. The programme often involves over 200 housing blocks, more than 80 000 households and over 300 000 public housing tenants. From the time of inclusion into the redevelopment programme, each of the public housing families involved is faced with all kinds of decision-making problems derived from the redevelopment such as addition, splitting of household, registration and demolition arrangements, removal allowances, local rehousing, unit allocation, purchasing of Home Ownership Scheme ( HOS) flats etc.

In recent months, the Housing Authority has successively announced and has been studing a number of new measures which has aroused public concern. At the same time, the new measures affect the CRP tenants. For example, the recommendation in the Housing Authority"s " Report on the Review of the Home Ownership Scheme" that a proportion of public housing units reserved for CRP households may be converted into HOS flats for sale; CRP sites may be used for constructing HOS flats; the deferralin the demolition of some of the housing blocksunder the Five-Year CRP; the revision of the proportion of HOS flats allocation between the "Green Form" and the "White Form‚01" applicants etc.

Regarding the redevelopment issue, LegCo Member Hon. Li Wah-ming has held more than ten residents consultative meetings at several housing estates under the redevelopment programme. Tenants" opinions on the redevelopment programme and the Home Ownership Scheme have been collected by way of questionnaires. We, after consolidating all the concerns and opinions raised by the affected tenants, produced this "Consolidated Briefing On the Redevelopment and Planning of the Public Housing." The Administration is urged to look straight into the problems associated with redevelopment programme.

II Mistakes in Redevelopment Planning

Estimation and planning for the redevelopment of estate housing blocks usually take place five years ahead of the demolition. Mr. Dominic S.W. Wong, Secretary for Housing, in reply to a LegCo question (see annex 1 ) raised by Hon. Li Wah-ming at the LegCo Sitting on 22 May 1996, stated, 'In planning the CRP, the Housing Authority considers the demand for local rehousing and the availability of reception flats meet demand.' But Mr. Wong also admitted, ' ........rehousing tenants affected by the ...Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme........Details of rehousing arrangements will only be decided nearer the time of formal announcement of clearance.' However, when the time actually comes, because of the limited distribution of resources, demolition is often deferred (for example, of the 57 blocks planned for demolition this year, 21 were in fact planned for demolition last year), allocation of reception units is miscalculated, causing delay in the occupation date( for example,. the occupation date for Ching Fai House of Tsz Ching Estate, which is the reception building for Tsz Oi Estate, has been delayed for six months because of the delay in the fire prevention equipment installation work), or the tenants cannot be rehoused locally etc. Problems like these gave undue hardship to the affected tenants and resulted in a number of complaints.

Example 1: Deferral in the Redevelopment of Blocks 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate

In the latest Five-Year CRP announced in early May 1996, the demolition of Blocks 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate was further deferred for one more year to 2000/01, making the clearance of the housing blocks two years later than the demolition of Blocks 1 to 4 of the same estate in 1998/99.

As Blocks 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate are located between Blocks 1 to 4 and Blocks 7, 8 and 10, they will be surrounded by redevelopment sites when Blocks 7, 8 and 10 are demolished for redevelopment as scheduled this year, and Blocks 1 to 4 are demolished subsequently.

Tenants are worried that after the demolition of Blocks 1 to 4, major problems such as law and order as well as general hygiene will further deteriorate. Tenants of Blocks 5 and 6 will also find their homes extremely inconvenient for access. Water cumulated at the sites may easily become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and dust from the construction works will fly about in the air, resulting in poor environmental hygiene around Blocks 5 and 6. Meanwhile, because of the isolated surroundings, serious security problems may arise. The area is already regarded by the police as a black spot for crimes, with all kinds of serious problems like drug taking, drug trafficking and gambling. These problems are expected to worsen after the demolition of Blocks 1 to 4, imposing a major threat on the safety and property of the tenants there.

Lam Tin Estate has been there for thirty years and quite a large number of residents are elderly people. When the buildings around Blocks 5 and 6 are demolished, the surrounding sites will pose a danger to these elderly people and will cause great inconvenience to the tenants when they go out to do their daily grocery shopping. Furthermore, lifts in those two Blocks always break down. As indicated by the record of the estate office, the total number of lifts breakdowns since March is as many as 14 times. Other problems such as serious spalling of concrete ceiling in some units, and the need for steel reinforcement in the common corridor, bring forth the question of how can the demolition of housing blocks in such conditions be delayed for another five years.

Example 2: No Uniformity in the Allocation of Reception Units

As indicated by the records of the Housing Authority, among the reception estates in East Kowloon, only 152 units from Kai Yan House of Kai Tin Estate due to be completed by the end of this year, and 298 units from different blocks of Ping Tin Estate offer three bedroom units for families with seven or more members. However, the 152 units of Kai Tin Estate have been assigned for allocation to the clearees of the four housing blocks due to be demolished in 1997/98 in Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate, while units in Ping Tin Estate are allocated to the affected households of Blocks7, 8, 10 and 15 of Lam Tin Estate. In other words, all the seven-person families from a total number of 25 housing blocks which will soon be demolished in Yau Tong Estate, Sau Mau Ping Estate and Li Yue Mun Road Estate will be forced to move to other districts, losing the opportunity of local rehousing. In particular, for housing blocks scheduled for demolition in 1997/98 under Phases 8 and 9 of the redevelopment of Sau Mau Ping Estate, all affected families with seven or more members have to be moved outside Kwun Tong District to Tsz Lok Estate and Tsz On Estate because of the shortage of three-bedroom units in the same district.

The interesting thing is that, while there is a lack of three-bedroom units for receiving affected households in East Kowloon, estates in Tsz Wan Shan which is located in the Central Kowloon has a big surplus of large units after all CRP clearees have been rehoused. According to Hon. Lee Kwok-keung, Member of the Urban Council, there is currently more than several hundred unoccupied large units in the district and the figure is a conservative estimation. No interest is shown on such vacant units because demand of all affected tenants of Tsz Wan Shan and Lok Fu under CRP have been met and they have been rehoused locally.

This shows serious miscalculation and negligence on the part of the Housing Department in the redevelopment planning of the two districts. It is beyond our understanding that the Housing Authority, who draws up the next Five-Year CRP every year and has years to plan and prepare for the programme, still made such mistakes and deprived the right of local rehousing for those large families.

III Recommendations on CRP tenants by the "Report on the Review of the Home Ownership Scheme"

In the "Report on the Review of the Home Ownership Scheme" completed in April this year, the Housing Authority recommended that new public housing units reserved for rehousing tenants affected by the redevelopment programme are to be made available for sale as HOS flats . The report has aroused great discontent among the CRP tenants, as they feel that the recommendation will affect their benefit and therefore cannot be accepted. The same recommendation was shelved by the Home Ownership Committee under the Housing Authority, and was returned to the Housing Branch for detailed reconsideration in the context of the Long Term Housing Strategy Review.

Although Mrs. Fanny Law, Deputy Director of Housing, once expressed that 'The CRP tenants have several options to choose from', we feel that Administration policy as implemented is tantamount to forcing them to purchase HOS flats. We are also of the opinion that selling of remaining units to the tenants of local public housing estates with less than 10 years residency will leave all the low income families no alternative but to move out of the district they orginally reside or move into renovated old public housing units. Redevelopment estates such as Sau Mau Ping Estate, Lam Tin Estate etc. are old public housing estates with a high proportion of elderly tenants. A lot of them are single and living alone. They simply cannot afford to buy HOS flats. Depriving them of their right for local rehousing or moving into new units is extremely unfair to them.

As a matter of fact, the Administration is promoting the "users pay" principle. From the policy on better-off households in the past, the recent public consultations on "Safeguarding Rational Allocation of Public Housing Resources", which aims to assess tenants" assets and propose that well-off tenants should pay market rent, to the present recommendation of asking CRP tenants to buy the units already allocated to them, are in fact Housing Authority"s long term goal to off load step by step their commitment to public rental housing. Furthermore, converting newly built public housing units into HOS flats for sale will similarly reduce the supply of public housing units locally, worsening the supply situation of public rental units. This goes against the pledge of the Administration to shorten the waiting time of the 1 000 000 odd applicants on the Waiting List.

In fact, under the current policy, if CRP tenants wished to buy HOS flats, they already have the Green Form "first priority" privilege. It is superfluous for the Housing Authority to ponder upon this home ownership issue.

IV Purchase of HOS Flats

The Housing Authority strongly encourages (even lured with benefits) public housing tenants to buy HOS flats. They also repeatedly claimed that these tenants have a very strong desire for purchasing their own property. Recently they even passed the resolution of changing the proportion of housing allocation between the Green Form and the White Form applicants from the original 3:2 to the present 4:1. They continually used the redevelopment sites to build new HOS flats, intending to develop HOS flats as the mainstream of future development of public housing, thereby minimizing commitment to public housing. This is obvious to the public.

Public housing estates included in the redevelopment programme by the Administration are generally thirty years old or above and the proportion of elderly people in these estates is on the increase. Take Sau Mau Ping Estate and Lam Tin Estate as examples, many of the tenants are elderly people living alone as their children have grown up, got married and moved out of the estates. Their financial position is poor. Many of them are living on the comprehensive social security assistance. For them, purchasing of property is out of the question.

Moreover, as a result of the fact that the quality of public housing is almost on par with HOS flats, and the fact that public housing estates have better planning and more facilities, in particular markets and shopping arcades which are not provided in HOS estates, it is natural from a consumer"s point of view for CRP tenants to have preference to new public rental housing units. According to the findings of our survey, not many CRP tenants intend or can afford to purchasing their own property. When compared to the sales result of the three HOS estates assigned to specified public housing tenants in Phase 18A of Home Ownership Scheme, a discrepancy is located between the actual need of these CRP tenants for HOS flats and that announced by the Housing Authority.

V Phase 18A of Home Ownership Scheme

All the five estates under Phase 18A of HOS which were put on sale on 23 April 1996 are located in the urban areas. Three of these estates were assigned to tenants of specified public housing estates in neighbouring area. They were given the first priority to purchase:

HOS Estates Priority Purchase
Hang Tsui Court, Chai WanTenants of Tsui Wan Estate and Yue Wan Estate
Fung Lai Court, Diamond Hill Tenants of Fung Tak Estate
Choi Fung Court, Ngau Chi WanTenants of Choi Wan Estate

The ballot was conducted on 30 May 1996 and the Housing Authority announced that flats were oversubscribed by eleven times. Of the three estates assigned to tenants of neighbouring public housing estates, Choi Fung Court in Ngau Chi Wan was oversubscribed by tenants of Choi Wan Estate. Officials of the Housing Department further expressed that this proved that HOS flats were popular.

However, if we compare the subscription figures of the above three HOS estates with the number of eligible public housing households, we will find that the popularity of these flats among public housing tenants is open to discussion.

HOS Estates No. of Units Public Housing
Estates enjoying Priority
No. of Eligible
No. of Subscribing Households

Hang Tsui Court, Chai Wan


Tsui Wan Estate,

Yue Wan Estate



278 (12.8%)

192 (8.2%)



470 (10.4%)

Fung Lai Court,

Diamond Hill


Fung Tak Estate


253 (5.4%)

Choi Fung Court. Ngau Chi Wan


Choi Wan Estates(1) (2)


1203 (15.8%)

From the above figure, it is observed that:

1. HOS flats in local district or in urban areas are not necessarily attractive to public housing tenants:

The above three HOS estates are in the urban areas for the priority subscription of public housing tenants in neighbouring areas. Except for the oversubscription of Choi Fung Court, the remaining two had comparatively low subscription from the priority subscribers. Of the two estates, Fung Lai Court had only one third of its 690 units subscribed by the tenants of Fung Tak Estate, reflecting that there is no direct relation between the location of HOS estate and the residence location of public housing tenants.

2. Public housing tenants" desire for purchase of HOS flats is generally low:

Although the priority purchase right for the above three estates was assigned to specified public housing tenants, it has not caused too much of a sensation. Of the three estates, only 5% of eligible tenants in Fung Tak Estate subscribed to purchase Fung Lai Court flats. This is probably due to the fact that Fung Tak Estate is a comparatively new estate, and therefore the subscription desire is relatively low. Choi Fung Court is more popular because Choi Wan (1) and (2) Estates have been around for fifteen years, resulting in a higher subscription desire. Nevertheless, only less than 15% of eligible households have applied to purchase the flats.

VI Questionnaire Survey

In regard to the inter-relationship between redevelopment and HOS flats, we have conducted a survey from the end of May to the beginning of June 1996 at eight of the housing blocks under redevelopment scheme in Sau Mau Ping and Lam Tin Estates. Door to door distribution and collection of questionnaires have been conducted. The purpose of this survey is to find out, among other things, the desire to purchase HOS flats among CRP tenents. We have distributed 4000 odd questionnaires and successfully recovered 1056 of them. A sample of the questionnaire is attached at Annex 2.

VII Questions and Findings

1. Will you use the privilege enjoyed by a CRP tenant to purchase HOS flat ?

(Purpose: To find out the desire of CRP tenants to purchase HOS flats)


25 (2.4%)

Will consider

72 (6.8%)

No (Turn to No. 3)

959 (90.8%)


1056 (100%)

About 90% of CRP tenants indicated that they would not buy HOS flats whereas about 10% of them expressed their wish to purchase or consider, about the same percentage as specified tenants who have applied to purchase Phase 18A HOS flats under priority purchase scheme. This reflects that CRP tenants" " Green Form First Priority" or other privileges have not stimulated their desire for purchasing the HOS flats. It is believed that their major consideration is financial capability and affordability.

2. If you intend to buy HOS flats, you will choose:

(Purpose: This question is to be answered by the respondents who answered 'Yes' or 'Would consider' to Question One, in order to find out their preference of HOS flats locations. "Urban HOS estates" includes other urban locations outside local district. "HOS estates in other districts" includes other locations outside the urban areas.)

Specified HOS estates in local area

10 (10.3%)

Urban HOS estates

56 (57.7%)

HOS estates in other districts

31 (32.0%)


97 (100%)

Of the 97 CRP tenants who intend to buy HOS flats, only about 10% wished to buy HOS flats in their local districts. Although nearly 60% of them chose "Urban HOS estates", the overall indication is that they prefer to have more options in term of flats location.

3. Do you agree to the proposal of selling a proportion of new public housing units originally reserved for CRP tenants as HOS flats to these CRP tenants?

(Purpose: To find out the opinion of CRP tenants on recommendations in the "Report on the Review of Home Ownership Scheme".)


18 ( 1.7%)

Disagree (Turn to Q.5)

866 (82.0%)

No opinion

172 (16.3%)


1056 (100%)

Over 80% respondents objected to selling some units in redeveloped public housing estates reserved for rehousing CRP tenants as HOS flats. Those CRP tenants who expressed previously that they would buy HOS flats did not completely agree to this arrangement.

4. Will you buy those public housing units upgraded as HOS flats?

(Purpose: To be answered by those who answered 'Agree' and 'No opinion' to Question No.3, assuming that the CRP tenants with 'No opinion' are not entirely in opposition to the recommendation.)


12 (6.3%)

Will consider

23 (12.1%)


155 (81.6% )


190 (100%)

The number of CRP households (12) who would buy those units is less than the number of CRP tenants (18) who answered 'Agree' to Question No.3. This means that even though they agreed, they might not buy HOS flats. Comparing with Question No.2, the result can be used as a reference for analysing tenants" choice of flats locations. By and large, the majority of CRP households are not interested in buying flats upgraded from public housing units.

5. Do you accept rehousing to public housing units in other districts?

(Purpose: To find out the acceptability of external rehousing. If the Housing Authority implements the above proposal of selling public housing units, a portion of CRP tenants will not be rehoused to a local unit and will be forced to move to other districts.)


57 ( 5.4%)

Do not accept

753 (71.3%)

No Opinion

246 (23.3%)

( Total)

1056 (100%)

Generally speaking, CRP tenants wished to be rehoused locally. Individual tenants expressed that they would consider estate units in other urban areas. A portion of them were worried that they would be rehoused in the New Territories.

6. Do you accept moving to renovated old public housing estates?

(Purpose: To find out the acceptability of losing the right to move into new public housing units among the CRP tenants. If the Housing Authority implements the above proposal of selling public housing units, some CRP tenants will not be allocated units in new housing estates and will be rehoused to renovated old public housing units instead.)


14 ( 1.3%)

Do not accept

1034 (97.9%)

No opinion

8 ( 0.8% )


1056 (100% )

Almost all CRP tenants do not accept rehousing to renovated public housing units. They expressed that having been living in these units aged almost thirty years, they faced a lot of maintenance problems. They do not want to continue facing such "painful" experiences.

VIII Recommendations

The accumulative effect of improper handling of redevelopment planning and housing resources plus the unheeding attitude of the Housing Department toward CRP tenants" petitions have resulted in all these problems of redevelopment programme.

As the number of elderly people among the population in housing estates under redevelopment programme is increasing, a majority of the families cannot afford the long term burden of buying their own home, especially when the price of HOS flats is climbing. So it is obvious that only a minor proportion of CRP tenants is interested in buying their own flats. A large proportion of them objects to the conversion of public housing units originally allocated to them to HOS flats for sale. Their concerns remain largely the same, i.e. the problems relating to demolition, local rehousing, and the higher rent of their new homes.

To solve the various problems brought about by the redevelopment programme, we have the following recommendations to make:

1. Review the planning of the redevelopment programme as soon as possible; try to solve the problems of supply and demand, as well as allocation of reception units.

2. Change the policy of "Economy Comes First" in building HOS estates on redevelopment sites of public housing . Build more local public housing units to satisfy the demand for local rehousing.

3. More attention should be paid to the redevelopment of Blocks 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate and to demolish these two blocks at an earlier date so that it will match with the demolition date of Blocks 1 to 4.

4. Study and review again the actual demand for HOS flats by CRP and other public housing tenants. CRP tenants should not be taken as target customers for selling HOS flats.

5. Do not discriminate against the financially poor CRP tenants. Delete from the Long Term Housing Strategy Review the entire recommendation of converting redeveloped public housing units into HOS flats for sale as stated in the" Report on the Review of the Home Ownership Scheme".

6. Maintain the commitment to public rental housing, build more public housing, and abandon the policy of using HOS flats as the mainstream in public housing development.

15 June 1996

Contact Persons: Hon. Li Wah-ming Page: 71128632 #9035

Member of the Legislative Council

Hon. Tang Chi-ho, Francis Page: 79781068

Member of the Urban Council

Annex 1


Date of Sitting:22 May 1996

Asked by : Hon LI Wah-ming, Fred

Replied by : Mr Dominic S.W.WONG, OBE, JP

Secretary for Housing

Question :

With regard to the Five-year Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme from 1996/97 to 2000/01 recently announced by the Housing Authority (HA), will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether units will be reserved in the redeveloped public housing estates for rehousing those affected tenants who are included in the Programme; if so, please provide a list showing the details;
  2. of the number of public rental housing sites which will be used to build Home Ownership Scheme flats after clearance, thus reducing the chance of the affected tenants in being rehoused locally;
  3. how the HA will ensure that the number of new public housing units is adequate for rehousing affected public housing tenants locally; and
  4. in regard to Block 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate which have been included in the redevelopment programme for the third time, what the reasons were for deferring the redevelopment works of these two blocks twice before and, in view of this, what measures the HA will take to ensure that the latest Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme will be completed on schedule?

Answer :

Mr. President,

A proportion of units will be reserved in some new public rental housing estates for rehousing tenants affected by the recently announced Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme (CRP) during the planning period from 1996-97 to 2000-01. Details of rehousing arrangements will only be decided nearer the time of formal announcement of clearance.

CRP sites to be used partly for constructing home ownership flats are mainle located in the urban areas and Tsuen Wan, including Tsz Wan Shan, Wang Tau Hom, Lok Fu, Sau Mau Ping, Lam Tin, Yau Tong, Ko Chiu Road, Tin Wan, Wan Tsui and Shek Yam. These Home Ownership Scheme developments will not significantly affect the local rehousing of CRP tenants.

In planning the CRP, the Housing Authority considers the demand for local rehousing and the availability of reception flats, including both new and vacated flats, and will, as far as possible, ensure that sufficient reception flats are available to meet demand. Affected tenants may choose new or vacated flats depending on their own needs, preferences and financial situation. Some may choose to move out of the original districts, or to purchase home ownership flats.

Redevelopment of Block 5 and 6 of Lam Tin Estate was planned for 1999-2000 when the relevant CRP was announced in 1995. The timing has been rescheduled on one occasion only to 2000-01 when the CRP for the period from 1996-97 to 2000-01 was announced recently.

The redevelopment was rescheduled by one year because the construction programme of the relevant reception estates depends on the timing of relaxing airport height restrictions in East Kowloon. As these restrictions will be relaxed when the Hong Kong International Airport at Kai Tak is replaced by the new airport at Chek Lap Kok, which is scheduled to open in April 1998, the revised timing will enable us to maximise the development potential of the relevant reception estates.

Annex 2

Office of Hon. Li Wah-ming, Member of the Legislative Council

( A Questionnaire Survey on Redevelopment and HOS Policy)

Dear Residents:

Under the existing policy, the CRP tenants who want to buy HOS flats are given "Green Form First Priority". In the "Report on the Review of Home Ownership Scheme" published recently, the Housing Authority recommended a conversion of some of the new housing units reserved for CRP tenants into HOS flats for sale to the same group of CRP tenants. We therefore conduct this questionnaire survey among CRP tenants affected by the conversion in order that we can pass on the opinions to the Administration.

1. Will you use the privilege enjoted by a CRP tenants to purchase HOS flats?

Will consider

( Turn toQ.3 )

2. If you intend to buy HOS flats, you will choose:

Specified local estate
Urban HOS estates HOS
estates in other districts

3. Do you agree to the proposal of selling a proportion of new estate units reserved for CRP tenants as HOS flats to the same group of CRP tenants ?

Dot not agree
(Turn toQ.5)

No opinion

4 Will you purchase those public housing units upgraded and sold as HOS flats?

Will consider

5. Do you accept rehousing to public housing units in other districts?

No opinion

6. Do you accept moving to other renovated public housing units?

No opinion

Your other opinions:

Name: Address: Estate Block Unit

Telephone: (Please complete as far as possible for us to contact and follow up with you later.)

Last Updated on 20 Aug, 1998