Hong Kong CAGE HOMES: new law to render up to 10,000 homeless

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 5 Jun 1998 20:15:40 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  South China Morning Post [Hong Kong] - June 1, 1998

     By Stella Lee

At least 600 people living in cages could be homeless by July
when a new law requiring cage homes to upgrade fire safety takes

Fourteen cage-home operators will cease to function because they
cannot afford to renovate premises, a pressure group said

The Society for Community Organisation said the number of
people living in cages could be up to 10,000 because there were
at least 20 "underground" cage homes on top of the 101
bed-space apartments estimated by the Government.

"But only half of the operators of cage homes are expected to be
able to meet the requirement of the new legislation," community
organiser Tsang Ka-wai said.

Director of the society, Ho Hei-wah, said the new government
hostel at Shun Ning Street in July would provide 300 places for
cagemen, far fewer than demand.

The society and cage-home operators are seeking an urgent
meeting with Director of Home Affairs Shelley Lau Lee Lai-kuen
to demand the Government adopt a flexible approach when
enforcing the new Bed Space Apartment Ordinance.

It also demanded the Government provide financial help for
cage-home renovations, and to review the need for hostels for
single people and map out a plan to resettle all cage-dwellers.

"Mrs Lau has said the cage-home problem shames Hong Kong.
She should do something to help operators and residents who
could be left homeless," said Ms Tsang.

Cage-home operators face a fine of $100,000 and two years in
jail if the bed spaces are found to be substandard.


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