Disney in clear over uniform incident

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2005, 12:00am

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has decided not to prosecute Hong Kong Disneyland for asking its inspectors to remove their caps and badges before entering the park to conduct official duties.

The decision was made after consultation with lawyers from the Department of Justice.

But a lawmaker suggested the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department obtain an independent legal opinion to avoid appearing to be giving Disney preferential treatment because of the government's partnership with the entertainment giant.

Officials had previously promised to stick to the principle of 'no fear, no favour' when enforcing the law, after it was revealed that two food inspectors sent to investigate food poisoning cases were told to dress down to be allowed entry to the park on August 30. One of the officers refused to give in to the demands and was denied access.

Obstruction of food inspectors is a breach of the public health and municipal services ordinance.

'After carefully considering all available evidence and factors, the department has decided not to take legal action,' a department spokesman said.

'Following the earlier incidents, officials have issued clarified guidelines for staff.

'Special concern has been placed on appropriate action to take if they are obstructed in the course of discharging their duty.

'Officials from our department have since visited the park on numerous occasions to inspect food standards, without encountering further problems.'

Democrat lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming said: 'To prove to the public that the government is fair and there has been no favouritism towards Disney, they should ask for a second opinion. Otherwise the people would think that since the government and Disney are partners in this project, they don't want to go ahead and prosecute.

'It would be quite embarrassing internationally.'

Commenting on the decision, a Disney spokeswoman said: 'All I can say at the moment is that Disney has already apologised for this and it will not happen again. I cannot say anything more beyond that.'

A security supervisor who asked the teams to remove their badges is understood to be no longer working at the theme park.

The supervisor is understood to have been asked to resign or face dismissal.