Plague outbreak fears dismissed
THE Health Department yesterday dismissed fears of an outbreak of the plague in old districts after three elderly women were bitten by rats in a Tsuen Wan hostel.
Department records show there has not been a case of the plague in Hong Kong for 65 years.
Residents in the area have accused pest control officers of turning a blind eye to the rat problem despite numerous complaints.
Three elderly women living in Yau Ma Hom village were bitten over the weekend. Cheung Tai, 88, was in a critical condition last night at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Last year, pest control officers caught more than 89,800 rats in urban districts and the New Territories.
Tsuen Wan District Board member Kwong Kwok-chuen said: ''It is notorious that there is a serious rat problem in ageing districts like Tsuen Wan or Shamshuipo.
''But the municipal officers do not act until the problem has worsened to a point where someone is hurt or bitten by rats.'' Mr Kwong said residents hoped a comprehensive anti-rat campaign would be carried out in all old districts.