Date
11 December 2016
Bridge of Rehabilitations Co. has been embroiled in a series of scandals. The latest concerns sexual assault by its director against a mentally disabled resident. Photo: RTHK
Bridge of Rehabilitations Co. has been embroiled in a series of scandals. The latest concerns sexual assault by its director against a mentally disabled resident. Photo: RTHK

SWD eyes retired cops to patrol private nursing homes

Labor authorities and the Social Welfare Department are considering tapping retired police officers to inspect nursing homes.

The idea is to use police veterans to regularly patrol care homes, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

This comes after a scandal in a private nursing home for the mentally disabled in which its director had unlawful sex with a ward.

The Department of Justice later dropped all charges, saying the victim is unfit to testify.

Keith Yeung, director of public prosecutions, told a Legco panel on social welfare that he hopes there will be amendments to the law that would make “hearsay evidence” valid in court. 

About 60 organizations took part in the meeting.

One mildly mentally challenged resident said living in a rehabilitation home is like “living in hell”.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said  there had originally been 79 residents in the rehabilitation home run by Bridge of Rehabilitations Co.

Sixty-eight have moved out and the rest are waiting to be taken in by other homes.

Hui Wai-man, a mild mentally challenged and autistic person, said an autistic boy who died from a fall in a facility operated by the same company lacked social service support, forcing the parents to send him to the home.

He urged the government to offer more social service support to autistic people and their families.

He described the homes as “hell on earth” as residents are forced to leave their family and live with strangers.

Cheung Ping-yuen, president of the Hong Kong Private Rehabilitation Institute, said Bridge of Rehabilitations is a “horrifying case” for the entire private hospital industry.

Chin Man-yuet, a caregiver who used to work in a subsidised home, said that due to the lack of human resources, the homes usually run on the least manpower possible.

It is common for private institutions to do this, Chin said.

“They can’t take care of 60, they can only look at them,” she said, adding some of her fellow caregivers had to change diapers, bathe, feed and conduct physiotherapy for more than 20 residents on one morning alone, with 40 more waiting in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, reports of another illegal sex emerged from the Vocational Training Council (VTC) Tuen Mun Shining Skills Development Center.

The reports said that a male school worker has sexually harassed an underage mentally challenged boy.

Many other victims have come forward.

The school worker suspected of the offense has been asked to retire early.

A VTC spokesperson said they take the reports “very seriously” and promised a thorough investigation.

The center is specially set up to offer vocational training to mentally challenged, autistic or physically disabled people age 15 and up.

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