Deadly cargo used at government markets

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 July, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 July, 1994, 12:00am

WATER taken from the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter, proved by exclusive Sunday Morning Post tests to contain the deadly cholera bug, is being used to keep fish at government-run markets.

Last week trucks followed by the Sunday Morning Post were seen pumping water from the typhoon shelter into plastic drums to ferry seafood to Urban Services Department (USD) markets in North Point and Causeway Bay.

Samples of water taken from the same area were later found to contain traces of cholera, the deadly disease which claimed one life last week and infected at least 20 other people.

The same trucks were followed to the Electric Road market and cooked food centre in North Point and the Tang Lung Chau market in Causeway Bay.

One truck specifically delivered water to stall 1A at the Causeway Bay market, run by a man known as ''Hing Kee''. At first he admitted all the fish were kept in typhoon shelter water but began making threats when photographs were taken of his stall.

Another of the trucks headed off in the direction of Aberdeen, the district which sparked the cholera scare when doctors treating a victim traced his contamination to the Ko Po Kok restaurant in Ap Lei Chau Street.

The water in which the restaurant's fish were being kept had come from the nearby typhoon shelter, although Sunday Morning Post tests of the water last week failed to establish further contamination.

Government departments have repeatedly warned fishmongers and restaurateurs to use ''safer'' water.

USD deputy director of food hygiene, Robert Murby, said: ''The stalls are inspected on a regular basis, but the water quality is never checked because there is no legislation in place.

''We are always advising stall holders to get their water elsewhere. Anyone in the food business who gets it from the harbour and typhoon shelters must be mad.

''Putting the laws in place is simple, but enforcing that legislation is extremely difficult. We are not the FBI.'' Assistant Director of Health (Hygiene) Dr Mohammed Ali said: ''We have thought about putting up barriers at typhoon shelters to prevent the siphoning of polluted water but it will not stop them.

''At the end of the day, responsibility is the key word in tackling this problem.''