ISS-HK obstructs Madam Lama’s attempt to secure a home

Post Date: Apr 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

As 2nd Defendant in Ms. Lama Inu’s High Court case for damages and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP), the Social Welfare Department (“SWD”) submitted a sworn affirmation that includes these three statements:

SWD claim 1:There is no monetary-equivalent ceiling on humanitarian assistance, including rental allowance

VF comment: This is a big lie. Thousands of refugees can testify that 1200$ was an absolute ceiling for more than 99% of refugees for years. Only a tiny number with serious medical problems received 1500$ after struggling with their case workers. To dispel doubts, ISS-HK must produce tables showing how many refugees received 1200$ and 1500$ between 2010 and 2014.
SWD claim 2:There is no monetary-equivalent ceiling on how much an individual service user in genuine need may receive

VF comment: Another big lie. First, all refugees are in desperate need no matter whether healthy or sick because nobody has savings or can work. Second, employing ‘genuine’ in this context is vastly misleading. SWD is not the Immigration Department and as such cannot distinguish genuine from non-genuine cases. Third, thousands of refugees can testify to the 1200$ rent assistance ceiling prior to the February 2014 enhanced welfare package.

SWD claim 3:Assistance recipients who are in need of rental allowance higher than the amount in the grid …” could apply for and receive it.

VF comment: Thousands of refugees can produce evidence proving that demands for rent assistance were systematically refused. We invite SWD to hold a press conference and publicly state these affirmations to 5704 clients currently mishandled by ISS-HK.

Noting that perjury is a criminal offense, the SWD is invited to reconcile the above three sworn affirmations with the facts contained in this email sent by Vision First to SWD Assistant Director Mr. Fung Man-Chung and Deputy Director Mr. Lam Ka-tai on 1 April 2014.



Dear Mr. Fung –

The High Court injunction was lifted because the judge trusted that the SWD contractor ISS-HK would performs its duties towards and stop discriminating against the plaintiff family. That might have been the SWD’s intention and understanding as 2nd Defendant.

Mr. Justice Au would be unpleased to learn that this is not the case. While it is unlikely that he will hear the damage and CIDTP claim that Mrs. Lama Inu and family will bring against your department, the following developments will be brought to the Court’s attention in due course.

Prior to the injunctive hearing, ISS case worker Ms. Helen Lee misled the plaintiffs, and in some measure the court, by offering Ms. Lama a 6000$ monthly rent budget and a two-bedroom flat in Cheung Sha Wan that was to be viewed on Monday, 31 March 2014.

Once the hearing was over, Ms. Lee reverted to her old ways and ceased being proactive, helpful and supportive of Ms. Lama. It is noteworthy that such an about-face was entirely predictable.

Most observers would agree this is spiteful and vengeful behavior from a woman who fails to understand her role in the upcoming damage and CIDTP claim, in which her attentive care would be a mitigating factor.

At this stage, we draw your attention to these facts:

– Ms. Lee failed to show a two-bedroom flat to Ms. Lama on Monday, or today;
– Ms. Lee withdrew the 6000$ rent assistance budget, reducing it to the 4500$ that led to the original injunction;
– Ms. Lee made no effort to identify a suitable flat for the family;
– Ms. Lee told the family to find a new home themselves when they have no resource or connections or to do so;
– Ms. Lee advised Ms. Lama to seek further rent assistance (above 4500$) from NGOs, in contravention of the Court of Final Appeal “Madam Kung” judgment;
– Ms. Lee refused to support Ms. Lama with two months security deposit, stating there are no rules on the matter, in contravention to the SWD letter to ISS on the Enhanced Welfare Package;
– Ms. Lee advised Ms. Lama to seek further deposit assistance (above the first month) from NGOs, in contravention of the Court of Final Appeal “Madam Kung” judgment.

It appears that after the High Court injunction was lifted, Ms. Lee reverted to harmful, discriminating tactics to further humiliate and torment a fragile lady for whom she never had any sympathy.

Ms. Lama may be reached at 54074415

We would be grateful for your urgent attention to this matter repeating our advice to change Ms. Lama’s ISS case worker in view of the upcoming damage and CIDTP claim.

Sincerely yours,
Cosmo Beatson
Vision First