WELFARE boss Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching apologised to Hong Kong's elderly yesterday for saying the $1,800 monthly government subsidy to them was more than enough. The Secretary for Health and Welfare, in an attempt to placate critics, also promised to consider seriously the elderly's demand to increase the payments when she reviews their welfare deal. 'I have no intention of angering the elderly,' said Mrs Fok. 'What I said in Legco [last Friday] was only the findings of a Household Expenditure Survey. I must say that the information is all correct. 'But some old people feel unhappy about what I said. I really feel sorry. I did not mean to say anything to let them feel they are being overlooked.' Pressure groups and the elderly launched a barrage of criticism after hearing Mrs Fok say in a Legislative Council briefing that many old people did not use up all their monthly $1,800 public security payments. She said most single elderly spent $1,355 a month and they could even save part of the money. A pressure group, the Society of Community Organisations, immediately criticised Mrs Fok as 'cold-hearted'. And yesterday, about 40 old people living on public assistance, most of them alone in public rental flats, took $1,355 to a protest outside the Government Offices in Central. They wanted to submit the two $500 notes, three $100 notes, two $20 notes, a $10 note and a $5 coin - put up on cardboard - to Mrs Fok to invite her to live on the amount with a single old woman. The money was raised by social workers of the Elderly Rights League. Wu Yuet-sheung, 75, said: 'Mrs Fok said the amount was enough, and even more than enough for a single elderly person. So dare she join me and live on the sum?' Ms Wu, who receives about $1,800 a month plus $900 housing and other allowances, lives alone in a public housing flat in Tsz Lok Estate, Tsz Wan Shan. Ms Wu and other elderly demanded Mrs Fok see them and receive the money, but this was rejected. Officers from her branch said she was at a meeting and had no time to receive them. They later relented, saying Mrs Fok could only receive a social worker and four old people. But the protesters refused and insisted all of them should be allowed to talk to Mrs Fok. After about two hours of demonstration, the officers backed down and led the protesters into the offices for an hour-long meeting with Mrs Fok. She apologised for her statements. The elderly received her apology but were disappointed she made it only in a closed-door meeting. And they were unhappy Mrs Fok did not receive their challenge to live on the payment for a month. Old people living alone will not get an increase in payments. Those living with families will enjoy a 12 per cent rise in their monthly standard rate, from $1,505 to $1,685 from April next year. Mrs Fok, on a D8 ranking in the civil service, earns a $157,250 a month.