SLOW processing of public health prosecutions is risking lives by allowing sources of E-coli contamination to remain open for months, medical legislator Dr Leong Che-hung said yesterday.
'Officers should shut premises the instant people's health is seriously threatened. At the moment, the legal process is too slow,' Dr Leong said.
Sai Ying Pun retailer Sun Luen On, which has been a source of E-coli twice in two months, remains open despite having been prosecuted nine times.
Urban Services Director Elaine Chung Lai-kwok promised to approach Judiciary Administrator Alice Tai Yuen-ying to ask why the case launched against the retailer in March has yet to be heard.
'I understand the Judiciary has its own concerns but we must speed up this process,' she said.
The current demerit system will be reviewed to allow authorities to close swiftly food outlets which pose a health hazard. Environmental health officers can now revoke licences after a fourth suspension.
Mrs Tai refused to comment on individual cases, but said a number of factors might have caused the delay.