Transcript of remarks by SLW on Guangdong Scheme and Tuen Mun incident (with photos)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, after inspecting the Sheung Shui Field Unit (Guangdong Scheme) specially set up by the Social Welfare Department in Sheung Shui to facilitate implementation of the Guangdong Scheme for the Old Age Allowance this afternoon (July 31):

Reporter: For some elderly people who are sick and disabled, is there any special arrangement for the interviews? And why did you say you were not encouraging the elderly people to live in the Mainland?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Two basic questions. Firstly, the whole scheme is to provide a choice for the elderly citizens. Whether or not they want to retire on the Mainland is entirely their choice. We want to provide a choice for them, to facilitate them to make a final decision as to whether or not to stay in Hong Kong or to settle in Guangdong. So, it's not to encourage but rather to facilitate them. That's very important.

     The second point is, for some elderly applicants, if they are not physically fit to travel, we will make special arrangement for the International Social Service Hong Kong Branch, which operates as the agent of the Social Welfare Department, to help them to proceed with their applications including home visits, so as to obviate the need for them to come back to Hong Kong. So, it's a very elderly-friendly arrangement.

Reporter: (On the Tuen Mun knife attack incident this morning.) ... Are you worried that it is a hidden mental sickness case? Are you worried that there would be many other similar cases hidden in the community? And what would the Government do?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Well, we need to establish the fact and background of this particular incident. I feel very concerned about it and that's why the Labour Department will proactively contact the employer to find out exactly the reasons for this incident, particularly the state of labour relations in the enterprise. And I would also appeal to employers to pay particular regard to the sentiment of staff. It's very important to build up rapport and dialogue between employer and employees to resolve problems and to build relations within an enterprise.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:08