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Fri April 19 2019

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Report released on Hong Kong rail problems

27 Mar A commission of inquiry that is investigating construction problems in a Hong Kong railway project has confirmed that work was not done correctly but says that strengthening is not needed.

Hong Kong’s government has released a redacted version of the interim report into construction Works at and near Hung Hom Station Extension, which is part of the Shatin to Central Link project. The redactions are to avoid any prejudice to any ongoing criminal investigations and potential prosecutions of future criminal offences. The government said that it will release the full interim report after the relevant criminal investigations and prosecutions have concluded.

In its interim report, the commission determined that the station extension’s diaphragm wall and platform slab construction works were not executed in accordance with the contract in material respects, but that they are safe and it is not necessary to rebuild or conduct strengthening works.

Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam said the commission's determinations have relieved public concern. “The commission's determinations have understandably assuaged our concern during the past few months about the structural safety of the relevant construction works.

“Nevertheless, as the commission has pointed out, the entire episode has not yet drawn to a close. There are a number of ongoing collateral investigations. Moreover, there remain extensive public concerns. We consider it appropriate to exercise particular caution.”

Lam accepted the advice of secretary for transport & housing Frank Chan and his colleagues that the Mass Transit Railway Corporation should continue to implement its proposed holistic assessment strategy for the Hung Hom Station Extension, aiming to complete it as soon as possible.

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She emphasised despite the interim report concluding that the construction works are safe, the Government will still call for full accountability concerning the incident.

The government expects more than just safety, with quality, integrity and compliance being prerequisites for any works, said Lam.

Meanwhile, the commission has reviewed the adequacy of the MTR Corporation and the government’s management systems and has made recommendations in respect of promoting public safety and assurance on quality of works.

Chan said that the government will study the commission’s views and recommendations on the government's monitoring mechanism thoroughly and will follow up with improvements. To rebuild the public’s confidence in railway projects, the Government will learn from the experience of this incident and make improvements, he added.

MPU

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