Community & Education Hong Kong

Pro-Beijing lawmaker draws backlash for boasting of ‘clean sidewalks’ after homeless people cleared

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung has faced backlash from netizens after boasting of the government’s clearance of homeless people.

The Federation of Trade Unions legislator said in a Facebook post last Friday that six government departments “finally carried out a joint operation” to clear the flyover at Tong Shui Road, North Point. Kwok said that the move meant the public could use a clean sidewalk once again.

kwok wai-keung

Kwok Wai-keung. File Photo: Facebook via 郭偉强.

Kwok also said that they will urge the government to follow up on the “problem” of homeless people and ramp up manpower and support, adding that the next step is to address the root cause of the lack of housing.

Kwok’s post was accompanied by an animated GIF slideshow depicting the scene at the bridge before and after the clearance, with the words “all clean.” The post has since attracted 1,500 angry reactions on Facebook.

Anti-poverty activist Benson Tsang criticised Kwok’s comments, saying that clearing the site would not help the situation of street sleepers, adding that he would not refer to it as a “problem.”

糖水道天橋大變身

[治標非治本]經過不斷同政府部門斡旋,六個政府部門昨日終於聯合行動,清空北角糖水道天橋,還以市民一條整潔又可行的道路。我哋會繼續促請政府跟進露宿者問題,加強人手及支援。也要進一步解決房屋不足上唔到樓的根本問題。#了解社區需要#房屋係重點為免洗版,謹將統一回覆貼上:感謝各位各抒己見,對於大家的評論,甚至評擊,明顯超出對事不對人的原則,也許是以政見分對錯的傾向使然。當然,網友說什麼也可,但我作為公眾人物,便應有更理性的處理。作為一個曾經協助露宿者研究,也做過case studies的社工,認知未必很深,但也不淺。露宿問題真的單單是房屋問題?美國3.4億人有350萬露宿人士,每一百人便一位(1%)。香港700萬人,約900露宿者(來自立法會2017.2月文件),即每一萬人便一位(0.01%)。香港房屋再少,拿900個單位便可解決露宿問題,絕對值得。但真實情況是,不是每位都認為上樓是出路。露宿者之家也有空置率的情況。這樣說,一定又捱批,但這是實情。回應一些有建設的提問:1. 點解唔幫晒佢地上樓才清場?小弟做社區,不怕髒,也不怕煩。有親自去交流,有些表示習慣了居住環境,當區建立了人際網絡,有些天花龍鳳說自己有車有樓。但我肯定,當中沒有一家大細扶老攜幼的宿友。交給社署及ngo探訪及介入,應該是最有效的幫助。在房委會審視恩恤安置名額,發現未有用盡名額,也有提問。2.點解咁涼薄,咁pk,趕絕露宿?橋面露宿情況一直存在,十年前只集中在樓梯的紙皮箱,個人及家當都很企理,居民也願意包容。到五年前來了染惡習人士,把現場變作廢鐵工場,收集爛銅爛鐵,令鄰近的宿友也受影響,也惹來居民投訴,最後也有清理行動。?近兩年又來了幾位染惡習人士,佔用橋面中心位置建設板間房,也堆積大量傢具,又放置石油氣煮食,居民投訴合理嗎?社會要關懷,便可忽視安全及衛生??在清理過程中,有屋底有數拾鼠隻同宿,任由鼠患橫行甚至製造鼠疫危機,將來的責任又是政府部門對嗎??任由惡劣環境危害宿友及社區,就是道德高人?誰能說我不關心??我自問比我的角色做得更加多,因為我不是路人甲乙丙,我習慣要對社區,對社會負責。也苦口婆心勸籲只限居住,不要囤積雜物及危險品,但未獲理會。如果我只是普通市民,或一名社工,我也會和各位同一陣線,只專注弱勢權益,大罵為何會有露宿?大罵任何跟進工作。但作為議會代表,看待事情便要從現實著眼,縱使我認同露宿有迫不得已的客觀因素及其主觀認知的影響,但不代表不處理就幫了他們。_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 支持郭偉强Facebook專頁https://www.facebook.com/kwokwkhk/郭偉强個人Facebookhttps://goo.gl/z2REl0郭偉强全新YOUTUBE頻道https://goo.gl/JdoIr9 <—-subscribe NOW

Posted by 郭偉强 on Friday, 24 November 2017

“Everyone needs to sleep, and chasing them away only means that they would be living in even darker corners, cutting them off from social workers seeking to assist them,” Tsang said.

Tsang told Kwok not to echo Beijing in engaging in inhumane acts such as exterminating those who are at the lowest points in their life. He was referring to Beijing’s mass eviction of migrant workers, dubbed “lower class citizens.”

“The most despicable is, after doing something like that, [Kwok] makes a GIF as if he was boasting about his accomplishments,” Tsang said.

Kwok said in response to comments by netizens that the situation had worsened in recent years and a large amount of furniture has been accumulated in the area. He also said that rats were found during the cleaning process, and questioned whether people who claim to be moral are those who would allow such a poor environment to affect society.

Kwok added that, as a council representative, he had to look at the incident realistically, and even though he agreed homeless people faced circumstances beyond their control, it did not mean that he was helping them by not dealing with the issue.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker draws backlash for boasting of 'clean sidewalks' after homeless people cleared