Balikbayan Rush Blocks HK Sidewalks, Earn Wrath From Pedestrians

A number of residents in Hong Kong have expressed dismay that law enforcement agencies have failed to act on their complaint about foreign domestic workers who have been occupying sidewalks allegedly employed part-time during weekend holidays to work for logistics companies.

Most of the complaints come from residents in Tsuen Wan district, particularly those residing near Lik Sang Plaza on Castle Peak Road, where several balikbayan box companies operate. Observers notice maids are often seen during Sundays packing various household items and then leaving them on pavements for collection, according to a report by EJ Insight citing Metro Daily. Reporters said foreign domestic workers congregate around Fu Wing Street, Wun Tung Street and other streets nearby.

A woman surnamed Chan said the packed boxes left little to no room for pedestrians to walk on. She added that while inspectors from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department have stepped up efforts against illegal shopfront extensions since September, they have done nothing to tackle the obstruction in the pavement.

Residents complained that the boxes left by the maids on the pavements are causing a bigger nuisance and inconvenience to pedestrians than the shop extensions.

According to Metro Daily, one of the maids claimed she was recruited by logistics and courier companies to help items for shipment, admitting that she did not disclose this moonlighting activity to her employers because that would be a breach of their employment contracts.

There are also claims that maids are engaged in the same activity to earn extra money along Dyer Avenue in Hung Hom and Sugar Street in Causeway Bay.

Such job, one maid said, can help her earn HK$200 every Sunday, or HK$800 a month, a significant addition to a domestic worker’s monthly salary.