Homeless asylum seeker found dead in Hong Kong streets

Post Date: Jun 11th, 2015 | Categories: Crime, Housing, VF Opinion, Welfare | COMMENT

An Indonesian refugee was found dead wrapped in a discarded mattress on the streets of Mongkok on 9 June 2015, reported the South China Morning Post on 8 June 2015. This tragedy highlights a general lack of protection for refugees in Hong Kong.

Homelessness is increasingly a problem faced by many asylum seekers who are not only denied sufficient welfare assistance, but are also increasingly made to wait long periods before they can access such assistance. The case of a refugee minor who was homeless for two months was reported by Vision First last week.

In April a fire broke out on a foot bridge in Sham Shui Po where many street-sleepers lived. It is reported that several dozen homeless refugees live in cardboard boxes in the area, exposed to the elements as well as to risks of fire, disease and crime. There is a troubling correlation between severe destitution and criminality – both as perpetrators and victims.

The government claims that refugees, officially branded ‘illegal immigrants’, are a problem for the security of society and therefore must be removed as soon as possible. A question should be raised: are refugees the only ones allegedly posing a threat to society? Isn’t the government endangering the life of people whose prolonged stay in Hong Kong is the responsibility of flawed border controls and a judicially bashed asylum mechanisms?

A Coroner’s Examination ought to be launched into the most recent death to ascertain why and to what effect a refugee woman, who is said to have lodged a claim in 2007, and therefore was in Hong Kong for over eight years, was apparently homeless in Mongkok.

A troubling reality might be presented before our eyes. Does the current assistance fail to offer in-kind assistance “to prevent them [refugees] from becoming destitute”?

Vision First is concerned about the generalizations made by Deputy Director of Social Welfare, Mr. Lam Ka-tai, at a Legco Panel on Welfare Services meeting, following the Hon. Elizabeth Quat’ question, “Are there any (refugee) street-sleepers?

The Hon. Quat persisted, “Do you know if any of them are street-sleepers? Do you know?” Mr. Lam’s ensuing response came as a surprise, “As far as I know there aren’t any!

Mr. Lam Ka-tai may perhaps want to examine the 76 article on our website relating to homeless refugees, and discover a reality he might have been concealed from him. This link is provide for his convenience: https://www.vfnow.org/?s=homeless





Homeless asylum seeker dies in Hong Kong streets


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