Help lacking over border: survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 September, 2005, 12:00am

As the number of people travelling and working on the mainland surges, a majority feel they are not getting enough support from the Hong Kong government when they run into trouble.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions conducted a telephone survey last month, interviewing 614 people who had visited the mainland in the past year. More than 60 per cent said the government was not providing enough support.

The survey found that in times of trouble, only a small percentage of people would contact the government's office on the mainland, and even fewer would seek help from the mainland authorities. Most said their first choice was to turn to friends and lawyers.

The federation set up consultation centres in Shenzhen and Guangzhou last year. A third in Dongguan will open soon.

Federation president Cheng Yiu-tong said the centres had helped more than 1,400 people in their first year.

While most cases involved property and work disputes, some people had asked where to find a beauty salon or how to get a girlfriend.

The centres had also bought tickets for people who had no means of returning to Hong Kong.

'Hong Kong people are not familiar with how the government works on the mainland,' Mr Cheng said.

'Very often they travel to one department only to find they should go to another, and sometimes they are kicked between departments.

'We might not be able to solve the problem, but at least we can help them get started.'

The number of Hong Kong people working on the mainland has almost tripled in the past 10 years, with the figure reaching 240,000 last year.