Activist faces jail if order ignored

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am

Heritage activist Ho Loy has been told to complete her community- service order 'wholeheartedly' by May or face jail.

The warning came yesterday from Magistrate Adriana Tse after Eastern Court heard that Ho had kept missing or being late for the arranged work appointments.

Ho, 41, ordered last June to serve 120 hours for damaging a canvas awning during protests against demolition of the Star Ferry clock tower, had served just 24 hours, the court heard.

The single mother, who lives on Lantau Island, also missed four meetings with her probation officer in Sha Tin because she had forgotten or had no money for travel.

Ho, an unsuccessful Legislative Council by-election candidate, told Ms Tse she lived on a tight welfare payout and could only afford to travel to the city once a week.

She said she also had difficulty arranging care for her nine-year-old daughter, who had developed a mysterious stomach ache in November.

Ho, who said each trip to town for a work appointment cost HK$100 including babysitting fees, asked the magistrate to order the Social Welfare Department to arrange community work near her home and put back the starting time so she had time to take her daughter to school first.

But Ms Tse told her: 'You have to know that you are now serving a punishment from court. You cannot demand everyone or everything to work around your needs.'

Continuing the service order, Ms Tse said she did not wish to send Ho to jail but would do so if she did not complete the order by May 31.

Outside court, Ho said she faced many difficulties and was under a lot of stress. She appealed to the public for donations.