Jockey Club to ensure guide dogs allowed into betting shops after blind man barred

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has promised to post signs on its betting-shop doors saying guide dogs are welcome after staff tried to stop a blind man with a guide dog from buying a lottery ticket.

Hazel Parry

The club has also reminded all security staff of the policy to accept guide dogs and contacted a guide-dog charity to discuss using its official door signs and holding talks with staff.

The move follows a article last weekend and complaints to the Jockey Club after David Wong Man-chiu and his guide dog Google were told to leave a North Point betting shop on October 10.

According to Wong's family and friends who were with him at the time, he was immediately surrounded by three members of staff who blocked his path and demanded that he leave.

One of the group, Wong's daughter Vicky Wong Wing-ki, said the incident had been very frustrating and embarrassing to her 65-year-old father, who has been blind for 35 years.

Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, it is an offence for someone to refuse services or entry to a blind person accompanied by a guide dog at any place open to the public.

Friend Angie Scott, who was with David Wong at the time, said she had complained to the Equal Opportunities Commission and also written to the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Alfred Li Yim-hung, chief executive of Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services, which trains and places guide dogs with the visually impaired, said he had also complained to the club and received a prompt reply.

"I wrote suggesting two things: one that the club uses our door labels saying guide dogs were welcome, and secondly that they allow us to give talks to their staff educating them that guide dogs are very different from pet dogs," he said.

"I received a reply quickly agreeing to both those things, so we are happy with the response."

In an emailed reply to Scott, the Jockey Club gave assurances that it took anti-discrimination laws very seriously.

"Following the incident, we have reminded all of the security guards of our policy. We have also put up door labels at OCBBs [off-course betting branches] to make clear that we allow guide dogs to enter our branches," it said in the reply to Scott.

"In addition, we have contacted the Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services with a view to discussing the use of their door labels in the longer term and the possibility of organising talks for our frontline staff."

Wong's dog Google, a yellow Labrador retriever, is one of only a handful of seeing-eye or guide dogs on Hong Kong streets. The service was reintroduced in Hong Kong in 2012 after an absence of more than 30 years, with Google being the first of the new batch of guide dogs.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Jockey Club vows to ensure guide dogs let in after blind man barred