Man, 72, critical after fridge fall
Martin Wong and Danny Mok
A 72-year-old man was critically injured yesterday when he was trapped against an iron gate by a 45kg refrigerator he had carried on his back down five flights of stairs.
The man, Fung Kan-chuen, works as a cleaning worker at an old tenement building without a lift in Portland Street, Yau Ma Tei.
Shortly after 10.30am, Mr Fung was asked by a household on the fifth floor of the building to take an old refrigerator to a nearby refuse centre.
Mr Fung, only 1.52 metres tall, carried the 1.82-metre-high fridge on his back down five flights of stairs, each comprising 24 steps.
When he had almost reached the iron gate on the ground floor, he stumbled and the refrigerator fell on him. People trying to enter the building discovered the accident when they found that they could not open the gate.
Firemen were called to rescue Mr Fung and he was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital, where he was still in critical condition last night.
Neighbours said Mr Fung was a former government cleaning worker who received a monthly pension of HK$2,000. He also received about HK$3,000 a month for working as a cleaning worker at the old building.
They said he had moved out of the home he had shared with his wife and two sons two years ago and lived alone.
Ng Wai-tung, from the Society for Community Organisation, said the case revealed the lack of financial protection for the elderly and the miserable lives of some elderly people in Hong Kong.
'Judging Hong Kong by whatever standards, we are still a wealthy city. But then there are many senior citizens who have had to make a living by collecting cardboard, and other hard work,' he said.
Mr Ng said government figures showed that 80 per cent of retired people were not covered by retirement plans.
'We have seen old people fighting in the street as they scramble for cardboard or being knocked down by vehicles while collecting cardboard or other used items,' he said. 'The government should introduce measures to help these senior citizens.'