Housing no longer free

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am

Refugees will be required to pay rent to live in the Pillar Point Detention Centre, while medical services in the camp are to be scrapped.

Justifying the move, Deputy Secretary for Security Sally Wong Pik-yee said: 'Why should we give them free accommodation if many of them are working outside? 'We are of the view that if they have the ability [to work], why should we specially arrange some services for them inside the camp?' Ms Wong said the amount of rent would be set and collected by Caritas. It manages the Pillar Point centre, where half the 1,200 Vietnamese are refugees. 'I believe they would take into consideration what residents can afford,' said Ms Wong.

The Democratic Party supported the plan. Ousted legislator James To Kun-sun said: 'I think it is fair to scrap their medical benefits and have them pay the rent if most of them can make a living themselves.' The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is to discuss the move with Caritas.