But organisers say it is unfair to link elderly woman's death to handout Officials are drafting safety guidelines for organisers of annual rice handouts during the Hungry Ghost Festival but would not say whether these would be made compulsory. Director of Home Affairs Pamela Tan Kam Mi-wah met lawmakers on the home affairs and welfare services joint panel yesterday to discuss future arrangements after an 82-year-old woman died during a rice handout in Tsim Sha Tsui last week. The proposed guidelines include reducing the size of the rice packs, limiting the number of people at each gathering and introducing a pre-registration system for those who plan to collect the rice. The experience and resources of the organiser should be taken into account, as well as the accessibility of the handout venue. 'We have reached a consensus with the organisers that we should continue to allow the rice distribution but we will ensure it is carried out in a safe manner,' Mrs Tan said. 'The community expects us to make sure future arrangements will be safe. This kind of public expectation has to be taken into account by the organisers.' At the panel meeting yesterday, legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit recommended that organisers reduce the size of rice packs to no more than 1kg. Most packs being distributed weigh about 5kg. Mr Leong said the organisation could also issue rice coupons to the elderly to shorten the queues. His view was shared by fellow panel member and democrat Fred Li Wah-ming. 'The rice distribution is symbolic, so the packages need not be large,' he said. Kwok Ka-ki, deputy chairman of the health services panel, said the government should take a stringent approach by disallowing the activities if the organisers failed to introduce adequate safety measures. 'Some organisers believe that the more people [who collect rice], the better ... But the organisers hold the activities out of charity, so they should look after the safety of these elderly people,' he said. Speaking at the panel meeting, one of the organisers, Cheng Pik-muk, chairman of Cheung Sha Wan Chiu Chow Yu-Lan Festival Association, claimed elderly people would not be attracted by the handouts if the size of the packs was reduced. He also accused legislators of linking the death of the 82-year-old woman to the safety of handout events. 'The woman died of a heart attack. It is unfair to link it to the activities,' Mr Cheng said. Chung Hoi-tim, spokesman for Tsui Ping Estate Kai Fong Yu-lan Association, also claimed that the death was unrelated to the handout. 'People can die any time, in any place,' Mr Chung said.