In response to a press report today (June 20) regarding the role of the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) in the grading of Government Hill, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said the report was totally groundless and stated the following:
"Since 2005, the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) has established an Assessment Panel which is tasked with undertaking an in-depth assessment of the heritage value of 1,444 historic buildings selected from a territory-wide survey on historic buildings built mainly before 1950. Although the Former Central Government Offices (CGO) is not an item on the list of the 1,444 historic buildings, it has been incorporated in the new items list. At the meeting on November 23, 2011, the AAB decided that 'the grading of CGO should be handled with priority. The Expert Panel (the aforesaid Assessment Panel) would be requested to grade the three buildings of CGO at the same time but it would be up to the panel to advise whether individual grading should be given for each single building of CGO.' (Please refer to Paragraph 41 of the Minutes of the 157th Meeting of the AAB posted on the websites of the AAB and the AMO.)
"On May 31, 2012, the Assessment Panel met to discuss matters related to the grading of the Former CGO. The panel members included Professor David Lung, Dr Law Kwok-sang, Mr Louis Lor, Dr Siu Kwok-kin and Mr Tom Ming (Mr Ming is the Executive Secretary of the AMO and is the only government official on the panel). During the panel meeting, Mr Ming recapitulated the decision of the AAB at the meeting on November 23, 2011, without predominating the meeting or mandating that the panel members had to grade the three buildings on an individual basis. It was after lengthy discussion that the panel agreed that the grading exercise should cover four items, namely the Former CGO site as a whole, the Main Wing, the East Wing and the West Wing. The panel members had made reference to a large number of relevant materials, including the report by the British consultant, Purcell Miller Tritton LLP (2009), submissions by the Government Hill Concern Group and other related documents. After detailed deliberations, the panel proposed that the Former CGO site as a whole be classified as Grade 1, while the Main Wing, the East Wing and the West Wing were classified as Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 respectively. The proposed grading results were agreed to by all panel members and recorded immediately. The notes of the meeting were later endorsed by all panel members and uploaded to the websites of the AAB and the AMO.
"On today's press report, the department has enquired with Professor Lung, Dr Law and Dr Siu, who reiterated that the grading mechanism and results were a consensus reached by all members of the Assessment Panel after detailed deliberations."
Ends/Wednesday, June 20, 2012