Review of eviction notice sought after appeal fails
A woman has gone to court to challenge an eviction notice from the Housing Authority because of an 11-month delay in moving into a public flat.
Chim Sui-ping argues that the authority failed to consider her situation when it issued the eviction notice one month after she finally moved into the flat in June 2009. The case is the subject of a judicial review at the Court of First Instance after a Housing Bureau tribunal rejected her appeal. Chim and her son, now 17, still live in the flat.
Chim claims she had been unable to move in because she was helping her bed-ridden father and could not afford to make the flat liveable. She did visit the flat about once a week, but rarely stayed overnight.
Hectar Pun Hei, for Chim, acknowledged the authority had a 'legitimate aim' to remove tenants who abuse public resources, but said the eviction was too harsh a punishment.
He said it failed the proportionality test at common law, and that Chim's absence from the flat did not affect anyone else, except by causing some people to have to wait longer for public housing.
The court heard that Chim was given the flat at the Choi Ying Estate, Ngau Tau Kok, in July 2008 and signed an agreement requiring her to move in within a month. But she did not live there until June 2009.
She ran out of money after spending HK$15,000 tiling the floor, the court heard, and could not buy a bed, tables, air conditioners or a fridge until several months later when her family lent her HK$60,000.
At the same time, her father became too ill to leave his bed after her brother, who had gambling debts on the mainland, threatened to kill himself and his father unless the parents agreed to settle the debt.
Teresa Wu, for the authority, said the appeals tribunal had looked at Chim's situation and concluded that it was not 'too much worse' than that of other families.
But Mr Justice Au Hing-cheung said the tribunal failed to give reasons for its decisions and it was not known whether it had taken into account the impact on Chim and her son if they were removed from the flat.
The hearing was adjourned until May 7.
Chim Sui-ping receives this amount in welfare each month•Making the flat liveable cost HK$75,000