Hong Kong patients’ group criticises feng shui expert over predictions involving mentally ill

It files complaint to Equal Opportunities Commission, after geomancer predicted in his guide that mentally ill patients would harm many people

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 8:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 10:34am

Geomancer Lee Shing-chak has been criticised by a patients’ group for discriminating against mentally ill patients in his feng shui guide.

The Hong Kong Patients’ Voices lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on Monday, claiming that Lee discriminated against people with disabilities after he predicted in his guide for the Year of the Rooster that there would be mentally ill patients behaving abnormally and harming many people after the new year.

“Our group believes that such comments are strongly discriminatory and prejudicial against mental illness patients, particularly the one saying they would harm many people,” Alex Lam Chi-yau, chairman of the patients’ group, wrote in the complaint letter.

He wrote that contents of the fortune guide were purely Lee’s personal predictions which had no factual basis.

“But a fortune guide aims to [persuade] people to believe, and people who buy [the guide] would tend to believe,” Lam added.

As Lee’s guides were available in major convenience stores, bookshops and magazine stalls, Lam wrote that his predictions could cause a “profound impact”.

“Mr Lee’s comments would lead to strong discrimination and prejudice against patients from the public,” Lam said.

The group demanded that the commission conduct immediate investigations on Lee and take legal action.

Lee, who has not responded to inquiries from the Post, told local media that he was deeply sorry for the misunderstanding created by the contents of his book. He stated that he did not mean to discriminate against mentally ill patients.

He also said that he was predicting an incident, and claimed that he did not mean to target any particular person.

The commission confirmed that it had received the complaint letter by the Hong Kong Patients’ Voices group and would study the allegations.

The watchdog also said: “Everyone should avoid using negative and discriminatory wording in [describing] mental illness.

“Some exaggerated remarks may deepen the misunderstanding of mental illness among the general public and their negative perception of people with such illnesses.”

It added that the remarks might also discourage some patients from seeking help and pose obstacles to their recovery.