Developer drops plan for social worker
Richfield Realty withdrew a plan to hire a social worker last night after a group of social workers campaigned against the move over the past week.
The developer, which acquires old buildings as part of its business, said it would 'improve the original plan' by donating money instead to charities to help the residents it displaced.
'Our plan was to hire a social worker to help the residents and understand their needs, so they could be referred to other organisations for follow-ups, but the plan has provoked concerns from some groups,' a company statement said.
Richfield said it hoped more people in need would benefit from its new plan. Details would be announced later, a spokeswoman said.
The developer advertised a job in newspapers this month for a social worker to help the residents it displaced. The person hired would provide counselling to the residents and also be required to submit records of meetings with residents to the company.
Many social workers were angry about the job advertisement, saying it 'twisted the meaning of social work' and would create a serious conflict of interest. More than 900 social workers signed an online petition against Richfield, and about 20 protested at the developer's headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui on Tuesday.
Lee Kin-kan of the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union, an organiser of the protest, said the group would keep an eye on the company's donations, to see whether they were subject to any conditions.
'There would be fewer conflicts if the social worker was not hired by Richfield, but we would see whether there was a limit on what the organisations were allowed to do,' he said.
Lee said the group was also concerned about whether Richfield would improve the way it handled acquisitions of development sites.
'We hope the interests of the residents would not be damaged as in the past,' he said.