Date
23 October 2018
The number of so-called McRefugees or McSleepers rose to 384 in 2017 from 57 four years ago, up 5.7 times. Photo: Reuters
The number of so-called McRefugees or McSleepers rose to 384 in 2017 from 57 four years ago, up 5.7 times. Photo: Reuters

‘McRefugees’ in HK up sharply over past five years: study

The number of people who spend their nights in 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants in several districts in Hong Kong has sharply increased in the past five years, a study shows.

The number of the so-called McRefugees or McSleepers rose to 384 in 2017 from 57 during the past five years, up 5.7 times, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the study conducted by the Society for Community Organization (SoCO).

The finding came after the non-governmental and human rights advocacy group’s staff counted the number of people staying in those restaurants in four districts of the city from the late night of Dec. 8 last year to the wee hours of the next day.

The districts included Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan.

A further survey revealed that four in 10 “McRefugees” have been to a senior secondary school or taken up a higher level of education, including tertiary.

One of the reasons the respondents gave for choosing to sleep overnight at McDonald’s was that they could not afford high rents.

A female “McRefugee” told SoCO that she has been a recipient of the government’s Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme since she lost her last job, adding that she feels safer staying at the restaurant than passing the night elsewhere.

She said her belongings had been stolen several times when she stayed at a government-backed urban hostel for single persons.

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TL/JC/CG

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