Stress of ruling linked to former mental patient's relapse

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 12:00am

An abode seeker had to be restrained by police yesterday when she suffered a breakdown at her home after finding out she had lost her claim in last week's Court of Final Appeal ruling.

The parents of Lee Bing-ching, 35, kept the court's ruling from their daughter, who is a former mental patient, for fear of the effect it would have on her.

Ms Lee was found lying in bed in a 35th-floor flat at Chung Chak House, Tin Chung Court, Tin Shui Wai, at 1.30pm with a towel tied around her neck.

When she became emotional her mother called police and Ms Lee was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital.

Her mother, 62, said they did not tell Ms Lee she had lost her claim and was unsure from where her daughter learned of the ruling. Ms Lee suffered from mental illness about 20 years ago but had recovered.

Ms Lee is the niece of Li Xiru, 72, believed to be the oldest abode seeker. He also lost in the ruling but vowed to fight to stay in Hong Kong to look after his 95-year-old, bed-ridden father. Mr Li said his niece had voiced her worries before the ruling and he felt the verdict had caused her relapse.

Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said yesterday that all governments had to take a tough stance in order to maintain the integrity of the immigration control system.

She was not worried that using 'necessary minimum force' to remove losing claimants would damage Hong Kong's image.

A total of 231 losing claimants have indicated they will return to the mainland before the end of March, when a grace period expires. Ninety-nine have already left.