A cleaning lady who was fined HK$1,500 (US$193) for littering is stirring up the internet after her story surfaced on social media.
Netizens are calling the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) staff who issued her a ticket heartless for pouncing on the vulnerable.
Some are offering to pay the fine, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The woman, surnamed Chau, broke down in tears when she was handed the ticket for pouring water on a street in Wan Chai.
She said she had merely wanted to clean the area as she was disposing of water containing bleach which she had used to clean the toilets in nearby Southorn Playground.
The FEHD officer, surnamed Choi, said Chau dumped rubbish in public.
A passerby who collects glass bottles tried to intervene but got into an argument with the FEHD officer. Police had to step in.
Chau makes about HK$8,300 a month as a cleaner and has never had to rely on social welfare, according to the report.
She has three children, two of them disabled, and her husband is a cancer survivor.
Fu Yuen-wai, Chau’s son who is a Hong Kong Paralympics Sailing Team representative, questioned the necessity of the FEHD’s actions.
In a tearful interview with Apple Daily, Chau described her financial burdens being the sole bread winner of the family.
She said she has seen dumpster workers pour water at the same spot.
A spokesperson for the FEHD said anyone who disposes of rubbish in public, including liquid, is subject to prosecution.
He said they will investigate the events and decide what action to take.
The maximum penalty for the offense is six-month imprisonment and a HK$25,000 fine.
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