Rat explosion bad for HK image: councillor

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 July, 2005, 12:00am

A serious rat infestation in Central could damage Hong Kong's reputation as a world business hub, a district councillor warned yesterday.

Kam Nai-wai said hygiene in Central had not improved since the problem was identified a month ago.

He said he was worried that the health of residents and the district's reputation would be damaged by the rodent infestation.

'Central is the most important business district in Hong Kong. It is ridiculous that there are more and more rats here,' he told the Sunday Morning Post.

Mr Kam accused hygiene staff of not carrying out patrols regularly and said lenient policing worsened the problem.

Last year the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issued eight summonses for hygiene problems in notoriously unsanitary Man Yee Lane, but Mr Kam said this was not enough.

'I can't believe there were only eight summonses, if they patrolled the area weekly as they said and enforced the law strictly,' he said.

The district councillor's accusation came after a Post report on Friday that a department study had shown that Queen's Road Central has in just six months gone from being apparently free of rodents to one of Hong Kong's worst-infested areas.

Mr Kam said rubbish from local restaurants, used paper and metal, and leaking rubbish bags filled Man Yee Lane and Tit Hong Lane.

He believed the streets' hygiene would be better if staff from the department had patrolled the streets more often.

The department last month laid bait at 50 places in Central, including Duddell Street, Man Yee Lane and Pedder Street, and identified seven black spots for rat infestation. Rat poison has been laid at all of them.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department pest-control officer Lee Ming-wai said apart from laying poisoned bait, officers would offer advice to residents and shop owners in the Central streets affected.

In response to Mr Kam's accusation, a departmental spokeswoman said staff would patrol the area more frequently.