Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying has encouraged domestic workers in Hong Kong to report their employers for possessing any “illegal items” related to the anti-government demonstrations.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Leung shared a photo of a flyer asking domestic workers to report sightings of “offensive weapons” and “defensive gear” including petrol bombs, slingshots, batons, helmets, gas masks and goggles in their residences. The post says that cash rewards will be offered for anyone who does so.

Leung Chun-ying. File photo:

Leung asked them to report information to the website, registered on August 12 under the former leader’s name. It claims to offer cash rewards to anyone who provides information on selected anti-government protesters. The domain name refers to the date demonstrators threw a Chinese flag into the sea after removing it from a flagpole in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 3.

The Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union said in a statement on Wednesday that Leung was “putting domestic workers in a vulnerable and dangerous position for encouraging them to commit illegal acts.”

The Union also expressed concern that the move could create animosity between the migrant worker community and locals.

Dolores Balladares, the chairperson of the Union, criticised the request as divisive. “Why include domestic workers in pursuing the protesters? CY Leung will put the domestic workers in a more problematic situation, by asking them to breach their contract and go against their privacy,” she told HKFP.

Balladares has worked in Hong Kong as a domestic helper for 24 years.

Dolores Balladares, spokesperson for Asian Migrants Coordinating Body. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

There are more than 370,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong. They are required by law to live in the residence of their employer, and often perform household tasks like cleaning, cooking and childcare.

“CY Leung should retract his post and stop using domestic workers, and put their employment at risk,” said Balladares.

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Rhea Mogul

Rhea is a Hong Kong-based journalist interested in gender issues and minority rights, whose work has appeared in a number of publications across Asia. She is also on the 2019 Diversity List: a list of ethnic minorities that are qualified and committed to serve on Hong Kong government committees.