Tenants living in fear on dirty estates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 September, 2005, 12:00am

Public housing residents yesterday accused the Housing Department of being lax on hygiene as they told of fear and disgust at the habits of some of their neighbours.

They said standards at some estates were 'appalling', despite the introduction of the department's demerit-points scheme, which has just led to the first eviction. They said lazy housing inspectors and property managers turned a deaf ear to repeated complaints.

A woman told a radio call-in programme that she had been so terrified by the poor hygiene at Yau Oi Estate in Tuen Mun and the lack of an official response that she moved out.

Yau Oi is the estate where Yuen Kin-man, 47, has been given a month to move out after amassing 17 demerit points for littering - and spending four months in jail for throwing bottles from his 25th-floor flat.

'I felt scared when I found out that I once lived with people like him in the same estate,' the woman said. 'When I lived there, I found cigarettes butts which were still lit inside my flat. Some people even dump used tampons and condoms out of the window. I used to hang my clothes out a window and a pot of corn congee was hurled and landed on my clothes. I complained many times about falling rubbish, but it was no use.'

She moved out a few years ago.

Another woman, who lives in Shun Lee Estate, in Kwun Tong, said her repeated complaints about neighbours dumping rubbish were never acted on.

'Inspectors deployed by the department are very lazy and they just ignore our complaints. I have seen human faeces in the staircase and burnt offerings at my front doors. It is smoky and dirty,' she said. 'I have been complaining for many years, but my complaints are still not attended to.'

She said the punishment for Mr Yuen was too light as he was still able to apply for another flat. Offenders should be banned from public housing for life.

Speaking on another radio programme, Housing Department deputy director Lau Kai-hung said that whether Mr Yuen was allocated another flat depended on his behaviour after eviction. If he was proved to be homeless he would be put in a transit centre and transferred to interim housing within a month.

Under the demerit scheme, introduced as part of the cleanup after Sars, tenants who accumulate 16 demerit points face eviction.

The Housing Department on Wednesday issued a final eviction notice after an independent panel rejected Mr Yuen's appeal against an earlier eviction order.

Housing Authority member Wong Kwan said Mr Yuen could be rehoused at a public estate within three months if he was willing to accept a flat no one else wanted - such as one where a murder or other bad event had happened.

Housing Department assistant director Lai Ip-cheung urged tenants to assist inspectors by calling the hotline, 2712 2712, with complaints against offenders.