Tariq Mehmood may now have all his $59,000, but he is still unhappy. The 41-year-old chef says he will remain in debt because he had to borrow $80,000 from friends to survive during his four-year wait. He blames the Legal Aid and Immigration departments for his woes, saying that initially the Legal Aid Department demanded he stay here while it processed the case, meaning he racked up debts, and says Immigration denied him a work permit despite the fact he was offered two jobs. It was not until 1998 that officials said he could return to Pakistan, but with no income he was unable to buy a ticket and had to stay here in poverty. To support themselves, Mr Mehmood and his Filipino wife, whom he met and married in Hong Kong in 1994, relied on friends' goodwill. 'We had no money for food and had to go to friends' houses to have meals,' he said. In 1999, Mr Mehmood's father died but he could not fly to Pakistan to see him, and in the same year his wife left him. 'I cried very hard in front of the [legal aid] officer, and the department gave me $10,000 of my money, with which I bought my air ticket home,' he said. He was asked to wait for the rest of his money in Pakistan, but after nine months of no news, and because friends in Hong Kong were chasing him to repay loans, he returned, using what was left of the $10,000 to buy the air ticket. Mr Mehmood regrets his decision to come to Hong Kong and is angry with the Legal Aid Department. 'If I hadn't gone there, I wouldn't have had all this trouble,' he said.