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Ao Man Long third trial: Planning started in 2004, says architect

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In a hearing of the Ao Man Long corruption case, an architect said the planning for the use for the five land plots opposite to Macau International Airport had started in 2004, long before the land was put for tender.
The third trial of the Ao Man Long corruption case continued yesterday at the Macau Court of Final Appeal, when two architects working for HKR International Ltd., which was commissioned by the Chinese Estates Holdings (CEH) for drafting the development plans for the five lands, testified to the court regarding the details of preparing the draft that constituted a core part of the bidding documents, which was questioned by government officials responsible for tender as being “too well prepared”.
According to the TDM report, Lau Wing Tim, one of the architects, told the court that he received a request from CEH in October 2004 for initial development plans on the five plots of land, and he received an A3 paper from another architecture company with floor areas and other details concerning the lands. CEH said the assignment was urgent, without explaining the reasons.
The tender for the lands was not announced until June 2006, and the bidding period was unusually short at just ten days, during which three bids were received, two of which were poorly prepared (obviously due to insufficient time for preparation); while the remaining one was well-prepared with all the details of the proposed development, even featuring 3D graphics. It raised doubts among officials and other bidders who testified in the court that the preparation by that bidder was started long before the tender. Moon Ocean, the successful bidder for the lands, was later sold to CEH, a listed company controlled by Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau.
Another HKR architect, Leung Wah Tak, told the court that he received a request from CEH in May 2005 to further develop the draft plan completed by Lau Wing Tim. CEH also asked him to combine the plans of the five lands into one single development for the lands. In addition, CEH wanted him to finish the job in just one week, which he thought was not difficult given that the preliminary plan was already completed. The hearing continues tomorrow.

S.C.  

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