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Mongkok Fire; Calls for a Medical Ombudsman; Asylum Seekers in Hong Kong (02 Dec 2011)


It’s less than a year since the last major fire in Mong Kok's Fa Yuen Street. As with the last fire, there are suspicions that this one was set deliberately, perhaps as part of an extortion attempt. Firefighters believe that this latest blaze began in two different places. It began at around 4:30 in the morning and was upgraded to a Number 4 alarm just after 6 because the closely packed stalls sold many inflammable goods like clothing, toys and curtains. Worsening the situation, many of the buildings along Fa Yuen Street have no fire doors or security guards and hawkers often store their goods in their lower floors. Despite increased prosecutions, many vendors have continued to block fire escape routes.While there's been controversy over suggestions that the hawker stalls were somehow responsible for this fire, the department in charge of enforcing rules for cooked food stalls is the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. With us in the studio is Vivian Sum, the department's Deputy Director for Environmental Hygiene A brain bleed undiagnosed by doctors, a baby's leg amputated as the result of a routine medical procedure, another baby dropped on a floor. Stories of medical misadventures have been surfacing with alarming frequency lately. There are complaints mechanisms in force. But are they enough? Or do we need a medical ombudsman?Hong Kong has around 7,000 asylum seekers, mostly from South-East Asian countries, many of whom say they fear torture or imprisonment if they return to their own countries. In the meantime, as they wait for a foot-dragging bureaucracy to decide if their claims are genuine or not, they remain in limbo.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, December 2, 2011
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