A notice saying “avoid renting out village houses to South Asians” has sparked controversy. It was spotted on Saturday in Nam Pin Wai, a walled village in Yuen Long. Headed “Safety issues in Nam Pin Wai”, it read:

“South Asians were involved in multiple cases of burglary, assault and robbery in Yuen Long in recent months, and villagers have often complained that South Asians usually flock together around Nam Pin Wai’s carpark and playground, affecting the safety of the villagers going in and out.”

“To improve the safety of the village, [we] now urge you to avoid renting out village houses to South Asians to reduce the number of them gathering, and [we] remind you to be careful going in and out. [We] hope you can play a part to improve the safety of the village. Thank you!”

The notice ended with “If you see someone suspicious, please call the police on 999.” It was dated August 1.

A village guard told HKFP that it was the general decision of the village to post it on its notice board.

The notice found in Yuen Long saying “avoid renting out village houses to South Asians”. Photo: HKFP.

A spokesman for the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) told HKFP that “It is believed that the poster may constitute unlawful discrimination under the Race Discrimination Ordinance. The EOC encourages an inclusive spirit for all, and disapproves of any unfair comments and treatment on the grounds of racial discrimination.”

“The EOC advises the management of the notice board to remove the notice in order to avoid any misunderstanding and unfair comments to South Asian people.”

Nam Pin Wai in Yuen Long. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Cheema Parminderjit Singh, a shipping manager, told HKFP that South Asians have contributed to Hong Kong society in the business sector and social services: “We have been waiting for the day when the Hong Kong local Chinese actually come and tell us that they look at us as Hongkongers and not Indians.”

“A lot of Hong Kong Indians and Pakistanis hold SAR passports, but they are still called South Asians because they have a face that is of a South Asian,” he added.

“People from Hong Kong need to understand that if you want to call Hong Kong an international city, they need to accept everyone, and not divide them in different categories.”

Previously, Singh filed a complaint to the EOC against broadcaster TVB for using a derogatory term to describe an Indian character.

HKFP has asked Hong Kong Unison, an NGO working for racial equality and the rights of ethnic minorities, for comment.

Under the Race Discrimination Ordinance, it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or vilify a person on the grounds of his or her race. Offenders are liable on conviction to a maximum $100,000 fine and to imprisonment for two years.


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.