Community & Education Hong Kong Law & Crime

NGO staff caught ‘abusing members’ with intellectual disabilities

CCTV footage has emerged of employees at a local non-profit apparently abusing beneficiaries with intellectual difficulties.

A male employee of Hong Chi Association’s Hongkong Bank Foundation Hong Chi Fung Tak Centre in Diamond Hill was seen yanking a female member by her collar with one hand, and then pushing her away violently in a video submitted to Apple Daily (graphic content). Her back slammed into cabinets and she appeared to be in pain.

The incident reportedly occurred in January. The member in question was around 30 years old and was an orphan, local media reported.

Other footage, also published by Apple Daily, appears to show two female staff at the same non-profit aggressively force-feeding a 50-year old female member after she allegedly failed to eat her meal on time, leaving bruise marks on her face. The incident reportedly took place in February.

hong chi instructor

An instructor is seen pulling a member by the collar. Photo: Apple Daily.

Both incidents took place at Hong Chi Association’s The Hongkong Bank Foundation Hong Chi Fung Tak Centre, which provides training for adults with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.

Regarding the footage showing violent behaviour towards the 30-year-old member, the instructor, surnamed Wu, denied being rough. “Sometimes we’re a bit strict with them. It’s because they don’t listen to us,” he told Apple Daily. Hong Chi Association admitted that the staff’s behaviour was inappropriate, and said that the instructor has received an official warning and will be transferred to another post.

Hong Chi Association also said that the matter regarding the 50-year-old member was dealt with immediately after it received internal complaints and that the employees received formal warnings. The Association also apologised to the member’s parents.

hong chi instructor

Wu, the instructor at Hong Chi who was implicated in the video footage. Photo: Apple Daily.

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung received complaints regarding both incidents and reported the case to the police on Monday.

He condemned the violent behaviour and said that it caused physical harm to the members. However, he also said that he believed these to be isolated cases and that the employees in question might have lost control of their temper or received insufficient training.

The Hong Chi Association currently serves around 7,000 members in Hong Kong and receives HK$500 million in funding from the government every year. Formerly The Hong Kong Association for the Mentally Handicapped, it started as a class for just four children with intellectual disabilities in 1965.

No one has been arrested in relation to the case.

The Social Welfare Department said that it has requested Hong Chi Association to submit a report detailing plans for improvement and follow-up procedures.

NGO staff caught 'abusing members' with intellectual disabilities