A key organiser of the group that pushed for a landmark court ruling last month granting new arrivals the right to welfare says he has been bombarded with online insults and death threats.
Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, an organiser for the Society for Community Organisation, revealed the threats yesterday as he filed a criminal-intimidation complaint with police.
Tsoi said he had been receiving the threats and insults to himself and his family since December 17, when the Court of Final Appeal declared it unconstitutional to deny new immigrants social security.
The court upheld the appeal of a mainland migrant supported by the society.
Tsoi said he had received more than 1,000 messages containing abusive language from about 100 people on his Facebook page in the past month. "You traitor helping mainland colonisers rob Hongkongers of their welfare, you will go to hell, all your family will go to hell," wrote a user named Yan Chan.
"Some said they'd kill me with an axe," Tsoi said. "But the most unbearable part is they threatened to harm my family, including my daughter who is less than two years old."
The judgment last month overturned the rule that only people who had lived in the city for at least seven years could qualify for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance benefits.
The society's director Ho Hei-wah said at the time the ruling might lead to an annual increase of up to 7,000 claims from new immigrants, adding HK$750 million to the annual CSSA bill.
The ruling came at a time of growing tension between Hongkongers and new arrivals from the mainland.
Tsoi was cornered by anti-Beijing protesters during the January 1 pro-democracy march. He said he received an increasing number of insults online after that, and the society received intimidating calls and e-mails.
A group of pan-democratic Legislative Council members, including Albert Ho Chun-yan and Emily Lau Wai-hing, condemned the abuse. They said the ruling "defended human rights as a core value of Hong Kong society".
Police confirmed they were investigating. No one has been arrested.