The general manager of China Technology Corp, a sub-contractor for MTR Corp, has come out publicly for the first time to say he witnessed steel reinforcement bars being cut shorter than specifications stated in construction work at Hung Hom Station.
The number of bars cut short exceeded 17, which was what the rail operator announced, Jason Poon Cheuk-hung said yesterday.
He also insisted that while it was “reasonable” to assume hundreds to thousands of bars were affected it was not as many as the 5,000 that lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun quoted sources as claiming. He pointed to 30.
Poon also lashed out at the MTRC, saying it failed to include what China Technology had said in a report it handed to the government. He claimed the operator had played down the scandal on the Sha Tin to Central Rail Link by saying only 17 bars were cut short at Hung Hom Station.
The MTRC also placed a notice in newspapers on Wednesday, criticizing people for revealing information and undercutting public confidence in the rail project.
While the MTRC did not specifically point a finger at anyone, the ad seemed to be targeting China Technology, which has released several written statements on the project.
Poon went on radio yesterday and also spoke to the media, claiming he had been snubbed repeatedly by the MTRC and had no option but to speak out. On what China Technology said that did not make the report that went to the government, Poon said his firm’s manager called MTRC projects director Philco Wong Nai-keung, but the executive cut him off.
Poon said he had doubts about Wong claiming last month that he was unaware of the shortened steel bar scandal.
He also said the MTRC must be “suffering from schizophrenia” by trying to defend main contractor Leighton. And he said he at least 30 steel bars being cut short “with my own eyes.”
Poon also expressed his concern about the structural safety of Hung Hom Station in light of the bars – used in an arrangement for securing a platform – being cut shorter than specifications.
He added that the MTRC has halted construction work worth some HK$70 million that had been assigned to China Technology.