Hong Kong home for elderly probes how man with dementia left building before he was killed in traffic accident

Assistant director of body running home said it was locked and those leaving needed a key; accident involving minibus happened about 300 metres away

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 August, 2016, 9:34pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2016, 10:58pm

A Ngau Tau Kok home for the elderly is investigating why a 79-year-old resident with dementia was able to leave the premises on his own without permission at night before he was hit and killed by a minibus.

The case also troubled Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, who said he would contact the home about the incident.

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Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Good Shepherd Home for the Elderly at Fai Wah House in Lok Wah South Estate said it was not notified about the absence of Ng Chi-keung until it was alerted by his family after the accident on Chun Wah Road near Lok Wah North Estate, which is about 300 metres away.

The accident happened at about 2am on Sunday – about 20 minutes before an amber storm warning was issued.

Ng, who suffered from dementia, had stayed in the home, which houses more than 100 elderly people, for about three months. He was rushed to United Christian Hospital unconscious and certified dead at 2.27am.

Chow Mee-tim, assistant director in charge of elderly services at the Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, which runs the home, said Ng was seen sleeping on his bed during a regular check about 30 minutes before the accident. Four workers were on duty at the time. Ng’s family told the home about the crash at about 3am.

Chow said: “The home is locked on a 24-hour basis. All people need a card key to go through the door ... There were staff working inside at all hours. It is definitely impossible to deploy workers [to look after residents] round the clock in every place.”

She said the council would set up a panel to investigate the incident and check CCTV security camera footage for any clues on what had happened.

Ng had no record of going out on his own. The home said it believed the incident was isolated.

Police are also looking into how Ng sneaked out of the home.

The 71-year-old red minibus driver on the Sau Mau Ping to Mong Kok route was arrested for dangerous driving causing death.

The Kowloon East special traffic investigation team is investigating the incident. People with knowledge of the case were urged to contact investigating officers on 2305 7500.