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Hong Kong housing

Hong Kong court rejects bid to challenge waiting list system for public housing

Two men who filed judicial review application claim system is discriminatory towards non-elderly single people

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 March, 2017, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 March, 2017, 10:47pm

Two Hong Kong men who are single failed in their legal bid on Friday to take on a government waiting list system for public housing, which they say is discriminatory towards non-elderly single people.

Choi King-fung and Leong Chee-keung, who claim the system has effectively barred them from accessing the city’s public housing, earlier filed a judicial review against the Housing Authority, which oversees the arrangement of public accommodations.

According to the Society for Community Organisation, Choi, 48, has been waiting for a public flat for 61/2 years while Leung, 51, has been in the queue for eight years.

Radical rethink needed to find solutions for HK’s housing woes

The two challenged the authority’s refined quota and points system, introduced on October 14, 2014.

In Hong Kong, the earliest eligible age for a single person to apply for public housing is 18. But during the trial, the pair argued that these people would be unlikely to score enough points to get subsidised housing before the age of 50 as the government scheme gives points to applicants based on their age.

Barrister Hectar Pun SC, representing Choi and Leong, argued earlier that the system effectively restricted people such as his clients from accessing public housing and therefore violated their right to social welfare under Article 36 of the Basic Law.

But the Court of First Instance refused their applications on Friday.

Community organiser Richard Tsoi Yiu-Cheong of the Society for Community Organisation received the written judgment on the pair’s behalf as they did not turn up in court. Tsoi said he would contact them to discuss matters for a possible appeal.