Employer picks up littering fine for cleaning lady

October 26, 2016 14:47
This area in Wan Chai was the scene of an unusual incident in which a cleaning lady was fined for pouring water on the street. Photo: Google Maps

A cleaning lady who was fined Monday by hygiene authorities for littering, reported back to work the next day relieved that her penalty will be covered by her employer.

The 70-year-old woman, surnamed Chow expressed her gratitude to the many people who supported her, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

She also thanked her employer, Baguio Cleaning Services Co. Ltd., which promised to pay the HK$1,500 (US$193) fine.

Chow's story stirred the internet when it was picked up by social media.

She said she could not sleep Monday night not knowing where to get the money and thinking how pouring water in the street could be an offense when others are doing it. 

Chow said she will stop doing it now that she knows it's against the law.

Li Mei-siu, vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) Staff Rights Union, said the law clearly states that discharging sewage is an offence but there is a gray area in the definition of sewage.

Li said this could lead to conflict when frontline staff carry out their duties.

Lau Chi-keung, FEHD environmental hygiene director in Wan Chai, said people have intervened and protested when his staff hand out violation tickets.

Lau said he suspected the incident was a set-up.

On Tuesday, an official from Baguio Cleaning Services visited Chow's workplace in Wan Chai.

The official promised to provide guidelines for the staff in handling sewage.

Chow, who makes about HK$8,300 a month, supports her cancer survivor husband and two disabled sons.

FEHD under fire for slapping HK$1,500 fine on cleaning lady (Oct. 25, 2016)

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