HK Lawmaker Expresses Concern Over Domestic Workers Gathering at Public Places

A Hong Kong politician has expressed concern over the gathering of foreign domestic workers and urged the government to provide more facilities for them during their days off so they don’t gather in public places, which affect other people’s daily lives.

Barrister and New People’s Party lawmaker Eunice Yung Hoi-yan said during a Legislative Council meeting that the apparent problem generated by crowds of domestic workers have gone worse for the past years.

The lawmaker added that during the mandated rest days for maids, a large number of them gather in parks, occupy footbridges and spaces under flyovers, where they sit, eat and sleep, affecting other people’s daily lives. She also claimed that this problem also raised a public hygiene issue.

Yung asked whether the Hong Kong authorities would consider setting up more centers in various districts for convenient use by domestic workers.

In his response, the secretary for labor and welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said there were no plans at present to set up activity centers for maids similar to the one that opened in Kennedy Town in 1994.

Law cited the significant contribution of domestic workers to Hong Kong’s development as they help families with household chores and taking care of their children and the elderly, thereby unleashing the potential of the local labor force.

Domestic helpers have already felt the heat over their presence in public.

One of them, surnamed Marilo, told Apple Daily that she and her friends used to gather in a shopping mall. Staff, however, asked them to leave unless they bought something. She hopes the government could provide places for maids to gather on their rest days.

But Wong Hon-leung, a member of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, believes that Hong Kong people shared empathy towards domestic workers as they know the maids only have one day off in a week.