Mei Foo rages over isolation lodge

A district councillor and four other people have been arrested after residents of Mei Foo Sun Chuen protested against the nearby Heritage Lodge being chosen by the government to become a quarantine center. Janet Ng Yuet-lan, the Civic Party's district councillor of Mei Foo Central, was...

Angel Kwan

Monday, February 03, 2020

A district councillor and four other people have been arrested after residents of Mei Foo Sun Chuen protested against the nearby Heritage Lodge being chosen by the government to become a quarantine center.

Janet Ng Yuet-lan, the Civic Party's district councillor of Mei Foo Central, was arrested on a podium at Mei Foo Sun Chuen for illegal assembly on Saturday night.

Her colleague Eunice Chau Yuen-man, another district councillor from Mei Foo South, said Ng was expected to be released on bail last night at the earliest.

Over 100 residents gathered under a bridge of Kwai Chung Road on Saturday night to protest against the Heritage Lodge being designated to house people who have had close contact with confirmed coronavirus patients.

During the protest, several protesters used rubbish bins to block the road outside Mei Foo bus terminal while the windshield of a bus was sprayed with paint, as others gathered on the podium to chant slogans.

At about 1am yesterday, police raised the blue warning flag, stating that it was an illegal assembly and that force may be used to disperse the crowd.

Police later entered the estate and subdued several people.

Ng was arrested after she questioned why riot police officers were subduing residents on the floor, according to Chau, who also claimed she was pepper-sprayed in the eyes.

She added that Ng and several other arrested suspects received slight injuries.

Police said they have arrested three males and two females aged 22 to 56 for illegal assembly and possession of instruments fit for unlawful purposes.

The century-old heritage hotel is part of the Jao Tsung-I Academy, which is a 10 -minute walk from the estate up on the hill.

Residents demanded the government instead choose a quarantine site located in a less populated area.

But leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said Heritage Lodge is an "absolutely acceptable" site for a quarantine center as it is far from residential areas and is safe for other residents.

"I can't see what's worth worrying... If they're unhappy even it [the quarantine center] will be up on the hill, it is a thought that lacks understanding of science, and even lacks common sense," Yuen said yesterday during a radio program.

He said many people are coming back to Hong Kong every day, and it will be even worse if those people were to quarantine themselves at home - with other residents living in close proximity.

Yuen urged residents of Mei Foo not to oppose the use of the Heritage Lodge as a quarantine center.

Meanwhile, the University of Hong Kong has subjected its mainland students to self-quarantine in a hotel in the Western District. It is paying for the accommodation to isolate the students for 14 days upon their return from the mainland.

They said none of those now staying in the hotel are from Hubei province. Students are requested to wear a mask at all times and dine in their rooms.