An MTR Corporation report on the corner-cutting scandal at To Kwa Wan’s under-construction station has said that one of its inspectors had failed to report an issue with steel reinforcement bars. The station is part of the HK$97.1 billion Sha Tin to Central Link.
The report – submitted a day after the deadline on Monday – confirmed that some of the reinforcement bars at three areas adjacent to two staircases of the station were removed. It said they were removed to fix the over-casting of concrete at different areas of the wall surface where there was uneven thickness.
Within an internal wall measuring approximately 700 square metres, 59 square metres had steel bars removed. The MTRC said it did not create any safety issues because there were not main structures.
During interviews with staff members, the MTRC said it found that an inspector – whilst en route to check other areas – had noticed one of the problematic areas near a staircase but failed to report the issue.
“We are seriously concerned about this omission to report,” the MTRC said.
It said it will commence disciplinary processes relating to staff failing to comply with processes and procedures.
The project was constructed as a joint venture between Samsung and Hsin Chong Construction.
The report said there were no requirements governing when and where the contractor should notify or seek consent from the MTRC engineer or inspector during the concrete trimming and repair process.
The contractor did not formally request approval for its decision to remove reinforcement bars during the concrete trimming and repair work.
The MTRC said that requests to interview the contractor’s staff during the investigation were denied. It said it will take action against the contractor in accordance with its contract.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the report proved that the MTRC did not know of the incident until it received media enquiries, since its inspector did not report the issue.
He also said the situation was “extremely worrying” as the contractor denied the MTRC’s request to interview its staff members.
“It reflects that the MTRC’s monitoring mechanism is non-existent,” Lam said.
Lam said he has written to Chief Executive Carrie Lam demanding that the scope of an independent investigation commission for another MTR corner-cutting scandal be widened to examine the entire Sha Tin to Central Link monitoring system.