Ho Pak, known as Uncle Ho to his friends, is 77 and has rheumatism in his legs. But he refuses to accept welfare payouts and instead sleeps on the street and makes a meagre living by scavenging. His bedroom is a dark alley in Wan Chai with a roof made of old cardboard. Day and night, he pushes around a hand cart, collecting empty tin cans and unwanted cardboard to sell. Social worker Gary Sham Chi-wing said Mr Ho had refused to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) despite repeated attempts by many social workers to persuade him. 'Many elderly people like Ho Pak follow the traditional virtue of being self-reliant and they feel it is a shame to receive welfare payments from the government. Many of them are so persistent that they choose to suffer the hardship but not to lose any of their pride,' Mr Sham said. When the South China Morning Post approached him for an interview, Mr Ho said: 'All my relatives are on the mainland and I am by myself in Hong Kong. I have been living in Wan Chai for 20 years. Doctors at the public hospitals say I should exercise because it will help cure the rheumatism in my legs. That's why I carry on working every day.' Asked why he refused CSSA, he claimed: 'I submitted my application a few days ago. Thanks for being caring. I am fine and I am still able to take good care of myself.' Another man, a Mr Chan who is in his 60s, sleeps rough beside an office block in Wan Chai. He has been living there for more than 10 years but he refuses welfare payments, according to the social worker, instead collecting unwanted cardboard in the streets. He declined to be interviewed, saying politely: 'Thank you for your visit. I am doing fine, really, but I'm very busy sorting out the paper just now.'