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‘We will show no mercy,’ CE warns FDHs who violate gathering rules

18 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


CE Lam also tells employers to ask their helpers not to go out on Sunday

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has issued the strongest warning yet to foreign domestic helpers not to violate anti-gathering restrictions, amid the most severe Covid-19 spread ever experienced in Hong Kong.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this evening, CE Lam vowed law enforcers will “show no mercy” when they enforce the tough new measures that had been put in place since the other Thursday, Feb 10.

“On Sunday (Feb 13) we saw a large number of foreign domestic helpers congregating. I would say that this Sunday when we take law enforcement action we will not show mercy anymore. If we see more than two people together we will mete out penalty tickets which will cost $10k out of pocket.”

The CE also took the unprecedented step of asking employers to make their domestic helpers stay at home on their day off.


“I would like to appeal to the public again to refrain from going out as much as possible,” she said. “And if you have hired foreign domestic helpers please do your best to ask your domestic helper to stay at home.”

But the Labour Department also admonished employers not to require FDHs to work on their rest day.

“An employer who compels his or her FDH to work on a rest day without the agreement of the FDH or fails to grant rest days to the FDH is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000,” it added.

The chief executive's warning came just hours after a group of migrant domestic workers held their own online press conference to decry being targeted by police and other law enforcers on their day off.

Last Sunday, a total of 17 FDHs were issued penalty tickets of $5,000 each for violating the gathering ban and for not wearing face masks, and issued verbal warnings to 13 others. Three were reportedly arrested for allegedly hawking food without a permit.

Police enforcers issued 17 penalty tickets costing $5k each to FDHs last Sunday

CE Lam also repeated a call for everyone to get vaccinated, saying the government is targeting a vaccination rate of 90% by the end of February. As of yesterday, she said the vaccination rate had reached 84.9%, so there is a chance that the target will be reached.

She also announced that the vaccination rate among the elderly has increased significantly. The rate for those aged 70-79 is now at 60%, and 40% for those aged 80 and above.

She issued the calls after warning that the fifth wave of the epidemic has yet to peak. So far, she said that from Feb 1 to 16 alone, the city has recorded a total of 15,139 cases, which is nearly equal the number recorded in the past two years of the pandemic.

Separately, the CE confirmed the plan to conduct mandatory universal testing but did not give a specific time frame, saying the government is still working on the plan.

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But she said it will involve more than a single test, like what was done in Macau. It could be two, or even three tests of each person, according to her.

The CE also dismissed talks of a citywide lockdown, saying it is not part of the plan.

But to be able to start universal testing, she said the government must first ensure there are enough isolation facilities for those additional cases that might be uncovered during the exercise.


She said that within the next eight to 10 days the government hopes to enhance its capability to provide more isolation places for patients who have mild or no symptoms. 

Apart from additional units at Penny’s Bay there will be 27,000 hotel rooms, as well as 3,000 flats in three public housing blocks that will be used exclusively for this purpose.

As the spread of the virus is not expected to be contained until after two to three months, the Legislative Council passed an emergency regulation ordinance Cap241 (2)(1) to delay the Chief Executive election from March 27, 2022 to May 8, 2022.


The nomination process will now start from Apr 3 to 16 and canvassing of votes will be from Apr 27 to May 8.

The CE said this is not the first time that an election is being postponed because of the pandemic. In July 2020, when the third wave of the pandemic was at its peak, the CE and Executive Council passed the same emergency regulation to delay the Legco elections by one year.


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