Date
14 December 2017
Hong Kong's Airport Authority unjustly put the blame on its staff after knowingly providing false information to a passenger in 2013, a watchdog has said. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong's Airport Authority unjustly put the blame on its staff after knowingly providing false information to a passenger in 2013, a watchdog has said. Photo: HKEJ

Airport Authority under fire over false info after complaint

The Airport Authority (AA) gave false information in response to a passenger complaint and tried to shift the blame to its staff when the lie was exposed, according to the Office of the Ombudsman.

In March 2013, a person told airport authorities that he saw someone trying to steal things at the baggage claim hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. 

When the airport staff failed to respond properly, the person reported the matter to the police and also wrote a letter to the AA, asking for footage of surveillance cameras on that specific day.

In a written reply a month later, the AA claimed that cameras were used only for real-time surveillance and that no recorded footage was available.

Later after having been questioned by lawmakers on the same case, AA replied to the complainant again, but admitting this time that the cameras are capable of recording. It said it had admonished the staff who earlier did not tell the truth to the passenger about the cameras.

The Office of The Ombudsman investigated the case and found that the first reply from AA was in fact a “standard answer” to the public and its staff just followed it, Metro Daily reported Wednesday.

The Ombudsman said AA’s way of dealing with complaints was improper and that it needed to mend its procedures. Giving a standard answer is totally unacceptable, it said, also adding that the AA should not have passed the blame to its staff.

The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent statutory body tasked with ensuring the quality of public administration and enhancing the culture of service.

Commenting on the case, lawmaker Chung Shu-kun said the case has undermined AA’s credibility. He urged the authority to apologize to the complainant as well as the airport staff.

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TL/AC/RC

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