The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) said in a statement on Thursday that its inspectors discovered on Wednesday that unauthorised renovation work was still going on at the heritage-listed Kun Iam Temple and therefore “immediately” reported the case to the police again. The bureau had already called the police once about the same issue last month. The bureau said in a statement on January 14 that it had called the police that day after Kun Iam Temple representatives continued with their renovation project despite the bureau having issued an official ban on it earlier last month after learning that the temple was being renovated without its authorisation. According to the statement on January 14, after a meeting on January 9, the temple’s representatives pledged to strictly abide by the law, where under the Cultural Heritage Protection Law any work carried out on a cultural heritage site has to be authorised by the bureau after consulting it on the matter. The temple is a cultural heritage site, categorised as a monument. However, the bureau later found out that the unauthorised renovation work was still going on at the ancient temple, causing damage to the classified building, the statement on January 14 said. A Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesperson said during a regular press conference on Wednesday that the criminal case of unauthorised renovation work at Kun Iam Temple had been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for further investigation. According to the spokesperson, the Judiciary Police completed an investigation into the case on Tuesday following a report by the Cultural Affairs Bureau on January 14. The spokesperson said that the case involved suspected aggravated disobedience and damage to cultural heritage-protected property by the temple’s representatives. The statement said that the temple’s representatives had repeatedly committed various offences, not rectified their course of action and ignored the law despite the case already having been passed to the judiciary. It also said that the bureau first discovered last year that renovation project was illegally being carried out at the temple and that in response the bureau has alerted the police about the issue. When the bureau’s officials inspected the temple on Wednesday, they discovered that the unauthorised renovation work was still going on, such as that the paint on the walls surrounding the temple has been changed and a part of the temple’s ceiling has been damaged resulting from the installation of additional facilities, yesterday’s statement said. Yesterday’s statement said that the bureau “strongly condemns” the way the temple’s representatives have repeatedly broken the law, adding that the bureau will hold the temple’s representatives responsible for their course of action. Yesterday’s statement said that the bureau will actively cooperate with the judiciary on the issue and “go after the wrongdoers until the end” in accordance with the law.
The program, sponsored by SJM Resorts, comes as officials emphasise the importance of the language to China’s trade with lusophone countries.