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Heavy rains shut many offices, but not the Consulate & Immigration

28 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

Visibility was low amid the heavy downpour so many vehicles stayed off the roads

Torrential rains disrupted Hong Kong courts, schools and businesses this morning as the HK Observatory raised the black rainstorm warning, but it was business as usual at the Consulate and the Immigration Department.

The Observatory issued the highest alert level at 8:20am after heavy rains pelted Lantau, Lamma, western Hong Kong Island, East Kowloon and Saikung. Flooding and mudslides were reported as more than 200 millimeters of rain had fallen by noon.

Traffic was light most of the morning, with only a few vehicles on the road as office workers stayed at home in response to the first black rainstorm warning this year. But the MTR continued to run, with light rush-hour passenger volume.


Edwina Antonio, executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, was in Eastern Court in Sai Wan Ho by 9:30am when she was told by staff at the courthouse that the scheduled hearings were suspended while the black warning was in force.

“I didn’t have breakfast because we were already running late. We took a taxi to get here on time but found out the courtrooms were closed,” Antonio said, while eating her sandwich.

She and an OFW were escorting a defendant in a case that was set for hearing this morning.

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The cases due to be heard at the magistracy included one involving a Filipina domestic helper who was accused of using her employer’s credit card to steal close to $800,000 and another female worker who was caught keeping a friend’s Hong Kong ID card.

By 11am, court staff announced that all sessions for the day had been cancelled and interested parties should return tomorrow.


At the Consulate, staff said they remained open despite the black storm warning so a lean crowd of Filipino workers who were there for passport appointments and other purposes did not have to queue up before the transaction windows.

The heavy rains did not stop people queuing up for services at the Consulate

In the assistance to nationals section, only one female staff was in to handle phone calls as all her colleagues were at the Hong Kong airport to see off a group of stranded Filipino workers who were returning home on a special flight arranged by the Consulate.


There were more workers with business to transact the PCG’s attached offices, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration on the 29th floor of United Centre Building.

But the assistant labor attaches and the OWWA welfare officer’s offices were closed as they were also at the airport assisting the departing workers. One female staff said the offices opened at 8am to entertain workers who were there for transactions.

A thin crowd of Filipino and Indonesian workers also gathered at the Foreign Domestic Helpers Section of the Immigration Department to process new contracts or apply for visa renewals and extensions.

Many FDHs were at Immigration because of urgent concerns

Many of the Filipinas who braved the bad weather said they didn’t have to wait long to complete their transactions. But at least two, Ellise and Rose, said they had been there since 8am and were among the first to submit visa extension forms. At 12 noon, they were still waiting to be called.

Both were anxious to get their visas extended as they had already overstayed by five months without even realizing it. They said they noticed only recently that the validity of the visa stamped on their passports was different from the expiration of their contracts.

News reports said anti-Covid vaccinations were suspended but resumed after lunch, while the city’s stock market resumed trading at 12:30pm.  

The nonstop rain triggered a landslide at 8am on Lantau Island that blocked two lanes of traffic, according to police.

Vehicles were shown on a video stuck as muddy water spilled from a hillside on South Lantau Road near Upper Cheung Sha Beach, making the highway impassable for a while.

The Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Tunnel Road on the Tuen Mun side was also obstructed by landslides, but had been fully cleared by past 11:30am.


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