Flats from hell
In 1997, the Housing Authority launched/generated a programme called the Express Flat Allocation Scheme. This scheme is designed to help people who have waited years for public housing and who are not superstitious. Under the scheme are 3,000 unpopular flats. They are unpopular for various reasons.
The majority of dwellings are unpopular because they are located in wide/remote areas such as Lantau or the New Territories or are close to rubbish collection points. However, 100 flats are deemed as even more undesirable because they have been afflicted with gruesome events such as murder, suicide, fire or loan shark harassment.
One example of a ‘flat from hell’ is the Tin Shui Wai flat where a mother and her two daughters were hacked to death. The only police suspect in the crime was the victim’s husband, who died in hospital after spending 2 weeks in a coma/blackout. He was also found in the flat with three knife wounds/cuts to his stomach. Murder squad detectives are continuing their investigation.
At another flat in Sheung Shui, a woman threw her two sons aged ten and six out of the 14th floor window to their deaths before herself doing/committing suicide in the same way. At another flat in Tsz Wan Estate, a man hanged himself after killing his 9-year- old son and seriously injuring his 12-year-old daughter.
Would-be/maybe tenants are not offered any rent/drop reduction for these flats. The main incentive is that the waiting list is very long and by accepting a flat on the undesirable list, people can ‘jump/hop the queue’ and be housed more quickly. A Housing Authority spokeswoman said “ All the flats have been refurnished before being rented out. We have to inform prospective tenants of the histories of the flats when they apply”.
When a tragedy occurs in a flat, even the neighbours want to vacate/empty their flats and find alternative housing. Many traditionally minded people think that ghosts will come back to haunt/scare the flat and that there is a bad omen or stigma attached to the surroundings.
More than 90,000 public housing applicants, who are now on the waiting list, are illegible/eligible to apply.