Authorities in the city yesterday responded to news of the death of Li Chun-yee by reminding residents that there are hotlines available where they can seek help if they or their relatives fall sick when they are on the mainland. The Immigration Department said it runs a 24-hour hotline (1868), which offers assistance to the city's travellers. 'If people have a serious illness on the mainland and need assistance, they can call the hotline or the offices of the SAR government in Beijing, Guangdong and Chengdu . The immigration officials will try to help them contact local medical institutions or help them arrange transport to return,' a department spokesman said. The assistance does not include medical or evacuation expenses. Medical Association president Choi Kin said patients would have to pay higher medical fees on the mainland because the hospitals there were not heavily subsidised by the government. It was understandable that most Hongkongers would like to see the doctors in Hong Kong, he said. 'However, if the patients are seriously sick, or unconscious, they should be sent to the local hospitals as soon as possible because it could be about life and death,' said Dr Choi. He suggested the people buy travel insurance when they travel to the mainland or abroad. Federation of Trade Unions legislator Wong Kwok-hing said the FTU had offices in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan , which could also help Hongkongers in need of assistance on the mainland. 'If elderly people cannot remember the hotline numbers, they should call their relatives in Hong Kong to help them contact the government for help instead,' he said. Since the government opened the 1868 hotline in August 2005 it has received 220,010 calls.