Hong Kong officials said Wednesday they will look into the controversial sale of a luxury flat that fell through months after its developer said it had snatched world-record price.

Property giant Henderson Land Development revealed on Tuesday that sales of as many as 20 out of the 24 units at “39 Conduit Road” had been cancelled.

The scrapped deals included what was supposed to be the world’s most expensive apartment, a 6,158-square-foot duplex sold for $56.6 million in October.

Critics demanded a probe into the collapse and asked why the cancellations only came to light eight months after the announcement of the sales, which helped hike prices of the city’s luxury residential flats and stoked concerns about a property bubble.

A government spokesman said Wednesday it would look into the matter “to consider the next step”.

“Clear market information and transparent sales arrangements and transaction records are important to flat buyers,” it said.

“The government is determined to create a fairer and a more transparent environment for flat purchasers.”

Tycoon Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson, told reporters he was not bothered by the scrapped deals, which amounted to 734 million Hong Kong dollars (94 million US).

“I may be able to sell them for more,” the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying. Lee also stressed that he could not cut the prices of the flats.

Henderson has also been condemned for being unscrupulous and misleading by selectively numbering the floors on the 46-storey building as a ploy to attract Chinese buyers.

The supposed 68th floor duplex that snatched world-record price was actually on the 43rd and 44th floors, according to reports. But it was so numbered because “68” sounds like “continuing fortune” in Chinese and is considered lucky.

“The government should do much more to rein in the developers and stop them from deploying questionable tactics to boost sales,” said Albert Ho, chairman of Democratic Party.

Source: AFP

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