FactWire can reveal that the late Secretary for Housing Dominic Wong Shing-wah was the uncle of internationally renowned explorer and photojournalist Wong How-man, whose China Exploration and Research Society (CERS) occupies the largest piece of government land in Tung Ah Pui Village.
Wong How-man is the founder of the CERS, a registered charitable organisation that moved to Hong Kong in 1994. Wong’s uncle Dominic Wong served as the Secretary for Housing from December 1994 to March 2002. Responding to a Legislative Councillor’s inquiry in 1995, Dominic Wong listed Tung Ah Pui as an urban squatter area and promised that the government would resettle all urban squatters before March 1996. The Housing Department was responsible for squatter clearance and control duties until 2006, when they were transferred to the Lands Department.
A 1995 publication of government staff biographies shows that Dominic Wong joined the government as a secondary school teacher in 1962. He was appointed an executive officer on July 10, 1967. Mak Sai-yiu, the former Assistant Commissioner for Labour, was also appointed an executive officer on the same day. Mak is the longest current occupant of government land in Tung Ah Pui Village, having resided in his villa since 1981.
Dominic Wong died in May 2012 at the age of 70.
In a CERS field report dated this January, Wong How-man recounts a trip to his ancestral home in Guangdong with his 96-year-old father Wong Chin-wah, “a life-long educator in science at the Jesuit Wah Yan College in Kowloon”. A Discovery Channel documentary uploaded by CERS’s YouTube channel in 2014 also depicts Wong How-man’s father Wong Chin-wah.
The Wahyan (Hong Kong) Past Students Association website states that Wong Chin-wah is the chairman of its Wah Yan Dramatic Society, founded in 1947. Among its members was Dominic Wong, younger brother of Wong Chin-wah. Wah Yan’s Photography Team archives show photos of the brothers attending the Wah Yan Dramatic Society’s 60th anniversary performance in 2007.
The Wah Yan Dramatic Society was registered as a company in 1972. According to Company Registry documents, Wong Chin-wah is the company’s director and his address is registered at a flat in Causeway Bay’s Phoenix Apartments. That flat is owned by Wong How-man.
A page on the CERS website, with details on the “Tai Tam Research Centre”, has now been removed. Previously, the website had said that its Tung Ah Pui facilities included a library and a “guest room and dorm facility for invited scholars and scientists”. Its “Tai Tam Research Centre” encompasses over 20,000 sq ft of floor space and outdoor facilities in Tung Ah Pui Village. It comprises three double-storey buildings and one single-storey building, mini zoo, glass house, treehouse, and two piers.
Since FactWire revealed the land occupation, several CERS structures in Tung Ah Pui Village have been removed by privately hired workers, including the glass house, treehouse, and mini zoo. Indoor objects have also been packed.
On June 15, FactWire reporters visited the Causeway Bay address registered by Wong How-man and his father Wong Chin-wah. No one answered the door. The mailbox was full of letters. Wong How-man, Wong Chin-wah, and Mak Sai-yiu could not be reached for comment.