Market News

 July 13, 2015
Pressure increases in Hong Kong for more lead tests at public housing estates

 Public housing residents and politicians are piling pressure on the government to check tap water at all estates across Hong Kong as a spreading contamination scare makes them jittery.

Their fears intensified after the government on Saturday revealed that four more public housing estates had been handled by licensed plumber Lam Tak-sum, who was responsible for pipes in Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City, where excessive levels of lead were found in some water samples. They breached standards set by the World Health Organisation.

The four estates are in Kwai Chung, Sham Shui Po, Sha Tin and Tuen Mun. Together with Kai Ching Estate, they house about 50,000 residents.

A spokesman for the Water Supplies Department said it would work with the Housing Department to conduct water tests at the four estates and release results as soon as possible.

Around 150 residents from Kwai Luen Estate in Kwai Chung, one of the four estates, attended a meeting yesterday to discuss the issue.

One of the affected blocks is Luen Yuet House. Mrs Sin, who lives there with her nine-year-old daughter, urged the government to check water pipes as soon as possible. "They have to do it immediately and cannot postpone the move," she said.

A Kwai Tsing district councillor, Ng Kim-sing, called on the Housing Department to conduct water tests on all new public housing estates to ensure safety.

In addition to the government, the Democratic Party will also take water samples at the four estates. It hopes to complete collection within a week and then get the test results in another two weeks.

Meanwhile, bottled water has been distributed to affected residents in Kai Ching Estate. Water tankers were also sent there.

The department said three categories of resident - children aged up to six, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers - would be given priority in receiving water. Other families may also get bottled water after registering.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said the Department of Health had received more than 400 inquiries from concerned residents, and around 200 appointments had been made for free blood tests.