Date
23 March 2017
Kai Ching Estate residents in Kowloon City take water from temporary water pipes after lead contamination at some facilities. Photo: HKEJ
Kai Ching Estate residents in Kowloon City take water from temporary water pipes after lead contamination at some facilities. Photo: HKEJ

Legionnaires case adds to panic at Kai Ching Estate

Hong Kong announced on Monday a case of Legionnaires’ disease at a public housing estate that was recently at the center of a controversy related to lead contamination in water, RTHK reported.

A 72-year-old man living at Moon Ching House at Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City has been sent to an intensive care unit after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, the report said.

Authorities are said to have detected Legionella bacteria in the old man’s kitchen, shower head and bathroom.

A resident surnamed Tung, who has been living at Moon Ching House for six months, said she was unimpressed with the government’s handling of the case.

She alleged that authorities delayed the announcement despite knowing about the case in May itself.

Tung said she is worried that the Legionella bacteria might have spread via water pipes. The water contamination fears are prompting her to wonder whether she should go to a relative’s place somewhere else to take her showers, she said.

Another resident, a person who gave her surname as Yeung, said she was shocked to hear one problem after another at a newly constructed public housing building.

Legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said she was disappointed with the government’s failure to explain, at a Monday press conference, the cause of water contamination at the housing estate.

She slammed the government for not making public its investigation reports, saying the lack of transparency has created panic. In other comments, Leung urged government departments to arrange for some professionals to attend to the needs of the residents of Kai Ching Estate.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a lawmaker from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, said his party had in June submitted to the Housing Department test reports on suspected sub-standard water faucets at Kai Ching Estate.

As there has been no response from the government, the party decided to file an official complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Fung said.

Fung also criticized the administration over arrangements for handing out bottled water to some estate residents. Everyone should be entitled to safe water, he said, calling on authorities not to be selective in their relief efforts.

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EL/JP/RC

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