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20/05/2010 - Hong Kong tycoon pays 233 million USD for elite property  20/05/2010 - Hong Kong tycoon pays 233 million USD for elite property

One of Hong Kong's richest tycoons has paid approximately 233 million US dollars for a property in the city's upmarket Peak area, confounding hopes of a cool-down in the real estate market.

Henderson Land Development Chairman Lee Shau-kee paid 68,229 Hong Kong dollars (8,750 US dollars) per square foot for the site in the Peak's Barker Road at a public auction, said real-estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which organised the sale on Tuesday.

The 82-year-old's son, Martin, made light of the whopping price tag for the site in one of Hong Kong's most exclusive neighbourhoods, high above the glittering financial district.

"The price is reasonable but it is not something bought for money," he was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

"Even if you are willing to spend a fortune, you may not be able to get something you fancy. We will build three or four two-to-three storey houses for our family to live in."

In February, Forbes business magazine listed Lee Shau-kee as Hong Kong's second-richest person, with a net worth of 19 billion US dollars, behind Cheung Kong Holdings chief Li Ka-shing.

Henderson Land set an Asian record last October when it sold a duplex in the former British colony for 71,280 Hong Kong dollars per square foot.

The latest eye-popping sale comes a week after Hong Kong said efforts to cool the territory's property market showed signs of working, following a lacklustre response to a sale of land near the airport.

Government officials have taken a more high-profile stance on the issue of soaring residential property prices after they jumped nearly 30 per cent in 2009.

Apart from increasing land supply, Hong Kong has also hiked stamp duty for luxury flats to curb speculation and pledged to curb excessive mortgage lending.

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