Domestic workers’ groups have demanded an apology from New People’s Party lawmaker Eunice Yung, who commented earlier this week that domestic workers’ gatherings in public spaces cause “hygiene” issues.

Yung said at a Legislative Council session on Wednesday that domestic workers “sit, eat and sleep on the ground, thus affecting the daily lives of the public, the operation of shops and the environmental hygiene in public places.”

migrant worker group
Photo: AMCB.

“The problem has persisted for many years and shows a worsening trend,” she said. She told RTHK after the meeting that she thought the government should be responsible for providing facilities and places for domestic workers to stay to avoid causing a nuisance to others in Hong Kong.

A number of groups including Mission for Migrant Workers, Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, League of Social Democrats, Civil Human Rights Front, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, and the Labour Party held a press conference on Friday.

Eunice Yung
Eunice Yung. File Photo:

Eman Villanueva of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body said the reason why some domestic workers are sleeping in public parks on their holidays – rather than having fun – is because they are overworked. “Because we don’t have an accommodation [where] we can rest fully,” he added.

“This comment and remarks made by legislator Yung is definitely offensive and insensitive. We believe that this is not the general sentiment of the Hong Kong society or the Hong Kong people,” he said, adding that he believed it was the stance of Yung and her party.

“We call on the Hong Kong government to enact the reforms migrant organisations and advocates have long been campaigning for, such as improving standards of accommodation, allowing live-out arrangements, and the regulation of working hours, to name a few,” he said later in a press release.

The groups plan to march to the New People’s Party’s headquarters on Sunday to seek an apology from Yung.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.