Daily Archives: May 22, 2014

Who pays when trees fall?

Photo: Hans Mahncke

Photo: Hans Mahncke

Had a lucky escape this morning when a large tree came down on my car, just as I was about to leave the house. Most important thing is that everyone is safe. But inevitably, there will now be discussions as to who is responsible, who has to pay for the tree to be removed, who has to pay for the damage etc? This is where is gets very complex. According to the survey map, the tree was on public land. However, someone built a little wall next to the tree. Someone also ran a water pipe right through where the tree’s roots were. Does that mean, assuming┬áthe wall and the pipe interfered with the tree, that the person who built those things is responsible? The police claim that the person using the land on which the tree was located is responsible for its upkeep and, consequently, for any damage it causes. Makes sense, but how likely is it that that person will now come forward and take responsibility? After all, it is public land. Watch this space as another Hong Kong land law saga unfolds…