Extra $171 puts Chans above limit

CHAN KAI-WAN is a carpenter who earns $5,900 a month. The 48-year-old lives with two daughters in a flat in Shun Lee Estate, and sends $2,000 every month to his wife and youngest daughter living on the mainland.

According to the government plan, a three-member family can receive a maximum of $5,729 a month.

But the Chan family's income exceeds the limit by just $171.

'I earned less than the limit before. But what's the use if I can only get a few hundred dollars extra,' Mr Chan said.

To save money, he spends his holidays with his family on the mainland in order to escape Hong Kong's high cost of living.

His daughters do not celebrate birthdays, and the television provides their only entertainment.