Customers were enjoying their meals in a McDonald’s 24-hour restaurant in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district, unaware that an elderly woman bent over a corner table was dead.
The incident happened on Friday in a Ping Shek Estate outlet frequented by so-called “McRefugees”, homeless people who spend all night in all-day McDonald’s diners, Apple Daily reports.
The restaurant manager, surnamed Kwok, found the woman unresponsive and cold when he tried to wake her up on Saturday morning, almost 24 hours after she came in.
CCTV footage shows the woman entered the restaurant at 8:54 a.m Friday. At 1:20 a.m. the next day, she is shown slumped on her table face down.
She is seen moving a finger around 2 a.m.
Customers ate their late-night meals around her and noticed nothing unusual, perhaps thinking she was merely asleep.
Kwok tried to rouse her at 8:20 a.m. but failed. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
The woman had asked for a cup of water but did not buy anything.
She had a canvas bag by her side and all she had was HK$2.60 (34 US cents) and an octopus card with HK$4.30 on it.
Residents of the estate said the woman, about 50 to 60 years old, was a frequent visitor to the restaurant.
She is believed to be a street sleeper and regularly spent the night there.
The incident put the spotlight on the need to help “McRefugees”.
Ng Wai-tung, community organizer of the Society for Community organization, said Hong Kong has more than 1,200 homeless people.
He said an increasing number have been taking shelter in 24-hour McDonald’s outlets.
Ng lamented the prohibitive cost of housing.
Even subdivided flats with no windows and air-conditioning cost about HK$2,000 a month to rent, a price the poor cannot afford, forcing them onto the streets, he said.
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