Sunday, 18 June 2017

Picking on the Little Person -- Again

Many elderly people would rather collect cardboard than get handouts
It seems the Hong Kong authorities really like to bully those beneath them. This time officers from the Food and Environmental Health Hygiene Department (FEHD) arrested and fined an elderly woman for selling a piece of cardboard to a domestic helper for HK$1.

The woman, surnamed Chu, sold the piece of cardboard last Sunday and then six department officers approached her and charged her. Chu was taken to the department office and later the police station, where she said she was released on bail for HK$30, leaving her with only HK$4 left in her wallet.

A protest was held today for a woman fined by the FEHD
A group of 30 people protested at the Central Western District Environmental Hygiene office today. The organizer of the event, a man surnamed Au said: "The behaviour of the officers is cold-blooded. We urge the department to drop the charges, return the cart it confiscated from Chu and stop all these actions targeting grass-roots workers."

Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick was also at the protest and said a lot of elderly people were trying to make a living from collecting recyclables like cardboard. He criticized the government for focusing on giant infrastructure projects instead of helping those who desperately need help.

Civic Party Eastern District councillor Lai Chi-keong, who exposed the incident last week after the woman sought help from him, said she had refused to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance because she did not way to rely on others.

The incident is similar to the cleaner who was fined last year
He added she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and gastritis, and had turned down donations and assistance offered by many after the incident came to light.

This episode is a reminder of when the FEHD fined a 71-year-old cleaner HK$1,500 last year for allegedly dumping water on the street in Wan Chai. A photo of her bursting into tears went viral online and the authorities later withdrew the fine.

Can the authorities please use some common sense and compassion? Many elderly on the streets collecting cans and cardboard are too proud to receive handouts. They are not the ones who should be penalized unless they are breaking serious hygiene regulations!


  1. This is the kind of action that makes people think the authorities lack compassion and are so unthinkingly "by the book" that they're like the Nazi-era underlings whose line of defence is basically "I did what I was ordered to do".

  2. Hi YTSL -- Breaking news! The FEHD has dropped the charges on the cardboard collector!

  3. Good news -- but what the authorities need to do is to go after the truly deserving prosecution (including professional beggars, drivers of luxury cars with idle engines polluting our air for starters, companies dumping medical waste into our waters, etc.)!