A hostel owner in Sham Shui Po is arranging a mobile bookcase for a homeless man who has admitted to stealing one such unit from the facility.
The operator of Wontonmeen Hostel, a woman surnamed Choi, said she discovered last Friday that a bookcase was missing from the premises that is mostly patronized by backpackers.
Announcing the theft on her Facebook page, Choi sought leads to help her retrieve the bookcase.
Subsequently, she received information that someone had seen a similar-looking unit under a flyover where a homeless man had apparently taken shelter.
Choi went to the area and began making inquiries. She then got confirmation that the bookcase is now indeed among the possessions of a homeless man.
When questioned, the man admitted that he had taken away the bookcase from Choi’s hostel without permission.
As he expressed regret for his action, Choi accepted the apology and explained to the homeless man that the bookcase was kept at the hostel to provide free reading material for the public, using donated books.
Meanwhile, realizing that the mobile bookcase was coming in handy for the homeless man to store his meager belongings, Choi promised to provide him with a new one.
She told standnews.com that she has no plans of reporting the theft to the police or have the man arrested, contrary to the suggestions of a few people.
After Choi revealed the theft on social media, some netizens lashed out at the thief, saying that it was awful to steal something that was meant to be used for a noble purpose.
Some commentators suggested that the theft was committed by someone from the mainland.
But after learning the facts of the case, Choi decided not to pursue a case against the homeless man, and instead help him.
She said she has found several volunteers who are willing to build a new cabinet for the man to serve his needs.
Choi’s hostel began collecting book donations in 2015, with plans to launch a free mobile library later this year.
Following her encounter with the homeless man, Choi now intends to expand her book-reading campaign to the homeless.
The hostel owner says she aims to put up a mobile unit loaded with books in a park where many homeless people gather.
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