Critics said yesterday the government should have been ready to arrange charter flights to bring holidaymakers stranded in Thailand home more quickly. With the escalating political strife having paralysed Bangkok's main airport for almost a week, the government should consider chartering flights to evacuate any remaining people, Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said. 'If I were stranded somewhere, I would hope that the Hong Kong government would help get me home,' Mr Tung said. 'If the situation does not improve, I think the government needs to consider the possibility of charter flights.' Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing, who has received complaints from stranded residents, said the government had been a little slow in coming to their aid. 'We understand the situation is very difficult, but the government should at least show that they are trying their best,' she said. But the administration said it had no plans to send charter flights to Thailand to fly stranded Hongkongers home because Cathay Pacific was already sending flights. 'The problem is that only a limited number of planes can fly to Pattaya each day,' Deputy Secretary for Security Ngai Wing-chit said yesterday. 'Stranded residents are not concerned whether the flights are chartered or not. They only want to get on a plane as soon as possible.' Mr Ngai said the return of Hongkongers had been delayed by the small capacity of Utapao military airport in Pattaya, and Cathay Pacific could only secure a limited number of air slots each day from the Thai authorities. He said an estimated 800 Hongkongers were still in Bangkok, but more than 700 of them could return from Pattaya yesterday and today on two Cathay flights. The government is hoping to have most stranded Hongkongers home by tomorrow. Dragonair has sent more and larger aircraft to Phuket in an effort to accommodate more passengers. Four more flights were arranged by the central government to pick up more than 1,000 mainlanders yesterday. By yesterday morning, five flights sent by the central government had brought about 1,400 mainlanders home. The Hong Kong Immigration Department had received 741 appeals for help. Mr Ngai said the government was trying its best to assist stranded residents, and had helped a patient to secure special medicine from Bangkok hospitals after obtaining authorisation from his doctors in Hong Kong. Fourteen members of the sex workers' welfare group Zi Teng who were stranded in Bangkok are expected to return today on a Dragonair flight from Phuket. Group spokeswoman Elaine Lam Yee-ling said although an immigration officer sent to Bangkok had been very helpful in securing plane tickets for them, the government could have done more.