Successful organiser recommends tickets be given out specifying staggered times for the free rice to be picked up Elderly rights groups have called for an overhaul of the annual rice handouts after the latest fiasco in which one woman died and scores were injured. Against Elderly Abuse said the organisers badly managed the events and failed to learn lessons from the chaos of previous years. The group's chairman, Kwong Man-wah, suggested that organisers get from officials a contact list of low-income elderly people a week ahead of time and distribute tickets with staggered collection times. In reviewing applications for the event, the police should also consider requiring organisers to distribute tickets in advance, he said. 'Each ticket should have different timeslots for collecting the rice and the organisers would have to announce no tickets would be distributed on the day,' he said. But Ms Chan, 80, who has years of experience queuing for rice, said issuing of redemption tickets was not a better idea: 'We still have to queue up for the coupons and that makes no difference.' The Hong Kong Association of Senior Citizens said the rice could be given to the elderly at simple, pre-arranged gatherings. 'The organising parties could hold the related rituals on one hand and distribute the rice on the other. This would allow the elderly not only to enjoy delicious food but also to collect their rice in a pleasant environment,' a spokesman said. Tik Chi-yuen, executive director of the Hong Kong Society for the Aged, said the government and organisers had underestimated the safety risks. He said organisers should be compelled to hand out coupons in advance to save elderly people from queueing. The organiser of a successful rice handout in Western district last month favoured handing out tickets before distributing rice. 'Without the ticket you can't get into the venue. That makes it more orderly and prevents the elderly from pushing one another in fighting for a better position,' said organiser Chu Kok-yue. He adopted the method in his most recent giveaway, at which all 3,500 elderly received rice without incident. Mr Chu said covering was important to protect the elderly from heat stroke. 'It would be better if the event can be held indoors, or better still, to hire enough volunteers to distribute the rice to the doorsteps of the elderly,' he said. Two smaller distributions at Sai Kung and Tsuen Wan yesterday ended without any chaos. Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping said organisers should ensure public safety during the Hungry Ghost Festival handouts. He would discuss three possibilities with organisers - keeping the existing method with new safety measures, banning giveaways and modernising the system. There are two more rice handouts today at Shamshuipo and Kwun Tong, but they are the last for the Hungry Ghost Festival. More may be on their way during the Mid-Autumn Festival this month.