Structural Concerns Raised Over New Cultural Center

April 30, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (30-April-2019): Concerns have been raised about the structural safety of a cultural center currently under construction in Ngau Tau Kok after tests showed it has similar construction flaws found in MTR Corp.’s Shatin to Central Link (SCL) rail project.

It was learned that some of the steel bars and couplers used in the construction of the East Kowloon Cultural Centre, which the government estimates to cost HK$4.17 billion, were substandard.

The main contractor for the cultural center is Leighton Contractors (Asia), the same company responsible for building the problematic underground platforms at the Hung Hom Station of the SCL project.  The materials in question were supplied by Dextra Pacific.

According to a report by Ming Pao, five of the 150 samples of bars and couplers used in the structural columns of the cultural center failed in safety tests commissioned by the Architectural Services Department (ASD).

Specifically, the five samples did not meet the standards for “permanent elongation”, the report said.  The ASD said Dextra had supplied 1,500 couplers and conducted threading on the steel bars used for the project.

Structural Safety Concerns Raised Over New Cultural Center

The ASD said it has taken a second batch of samples for another testing and if the results, which are expected next month, show their quality is still below par, Leighton will be asked to remove all related materials from the construction site.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah expressed deep concern over the situation as reported and promised to work with the ASD and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to follow up on the case.

Asked by media if the material supplier will be replaced, Lau said a decision will be made only after the two departments get a better understanding of the situation and receive the relevant building records from the main contractor.

A civil engineer pointed out that substandard couplers and steel bars may end up causing concrete slabs to crack and bars to rust as well.  The EKCC is scheduled for completion next year.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Highways Department said MTR has confirmed the completion of the second stage of the holistic assessment conducted on the Hung Hom Station extension under the SCL project.

The assessment showed that one in five tested samples of the bars used in the construction failed in the structural tests.  The third stage of the holistic assessment strategy has been launched and is expected to be completed by the end of June.

Man Turns Himself In After Driving In Wrong Direction

April 29, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (29-April-2019): A 65-year-old man turned himself in after creating a huge scare among motorists when he drove in the wrong direction at the Central-Wan Chai Bypass over the weekend, police said.

The incident took place sometime before 8 p.m. on Saturday, when a vehicle with a dual license plate entered the Central-Wan Chai Bypass in the wrong direction. It was traveling eastward in the southbound lane.

Based on a video clip, apparently taken by a dashboard camera, other vehicles using the same road sounded their horns and flashed their headlights to warn the driver, who continued cruising in the middle of the lane.  No one was reported hurt in the incident.

The footage went viral on the internet and prompted the Traffic Hong Kong Island of the Hong Kong Island Regional Headquarters to launch an investigation.

Last night, a man went to the Shau Kei Wan Reporting Centre to confess that he was the driver of the vehicle caught in the video, NewsStandOnline.Net reported.

Man Turns Himself In After Driving In Wrong Direction

Police said the driver will face prosecution, and called on motorists using the Central-Wan Chai Bypass to pay attention to traffic and directional signs to avoid breaking traffic regulations and posing danger to themselves and others.

Meanwhile, businessman Ng Kai-ming, a former actor with Television Broadcasts Ltd., admitted that he was a passenger of the vehicle that figured in the incident. He offered his apologies to those affected by the incident.

It was Ng who hired the man to drive the vehicle, and later convinced him to turn himself in.

In another development, police are investigating an incident in which a vehicle with a cross-border license plate went out control at around 5 p.m. on Sunday on Kiu Tau Road in Fanling and ended up crashing into Wo Hop Shek Cemetery and damaging several graves. 

Tiananmen Museum Reopens To Mark Anniversary

April 26, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (26-April-2019): A museum documenting the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre reopened in Hong Kong today after a three-year hiatus, marking the 30th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on a pro-democracy protest.

“The reopening of this June 4th Museum on the 30th anniversary is a clear demonstration of our commitment to uphold memory, pursue justice and hope for the future of our country,” said Albert Ho, head of a group that operates the museum, referring to the date the military crackdown is remembered by.

The museum showcases relics from the incident, including a helmet worn by Chinese student Wang Nan when he was shot in the head by troops, and a bullet fragment removed from another student Zhang Jian, who recently died.

Other items on display are photographs, newspaper clippings and declassified government documents recording what had happened at the time.

The museum was first opened in 2014 at a commercial building but was forced to shut two years later after facing legal disputes with the site’s owner. Its new location, also in a commercial building in the Mong Kok district of Kowloon, could face similar challenges from the building’s owner.

Tiananmen Museum Reopens To Mark Anniversary

The museum is operated by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which holds annual memorials for the hundreds of mainly student protesters who died after soldiers began the crackdown on the night of June 3, 1989, and later opened fire on protesters in Tiananmen Square.

“We cannot lose sight of the past and close eyes to injustice in the past, because if we did not remember the past, we would lose sight of the future,” Ho said. “We will continue…to call for vindication of the student movement and…to bring those responsible to justice.”

Cheung Wing-fai, a 60-year-old former teacher who was touring the museum, said, “This is meaningful because Hong Kong is the only place in China where such a museum is enacted.”

“I hope (the museum) will continue (operate) so that people who want to know history can come, no matter how differently people think of the crackdown,” he said.

Before the museum reopened, about 20 people had staged protests at the new site for days, calling for its expulsion on the grounds that it would draw too many visitors and become a disturbance to other proprietors in the building.

Ho said police are investigating after the museum was vandalized about two weeks before the reopening. He believes the attack was politically motivated.