100 protest hawker's arrest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am


The arrest of an egg waffle hawker in Tai Hang sparked a protest by bystanders and residents on Sunday.

Ng Yuk-fai, 74, a popular figure known to locals as 'the old egg waffle man', has been selling the treat for more than 30 years.

His arrest involved about 30 officers from police and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department as the crowd grew to almost 100.

The department said it was the fifth time he was arrested this year. But Ng told the media it was the seventh.

Ng said he made just HK$6,000 a month selling egg waffles on the street. He sends HK$4,000 back to his family on the mainland. He has two sons and a daughter. To pay for his sons' tuition, he works as a casual delivery man for a nearby eatery and collects waste paper.

His already tiny income is reduced by the HK$800 fine he pays each time he is arrested and the HK$2,000 a new cart costs him each time it is confiscated.

Protesters scolded the officers for not arresting people selling pirated products in the same area.

They yelled: 'Give the old man a break. At least he is making a living and not collecting social security.'

A department spokesman said officers deal with illegal food hawkers strictly to ensure the city's hygiene, and that 'there is no selective law enforcement'.

Additional reporting by Phila Siu