Elderly people ‘shortchanged over spending vouchers’

Dozens of angry elderly citizens have vented their anger at a government office in Mong Kok after they found out their applications for the HK$5,000 spending voucher failed.

Some 800,000 people who submitted written applications for the electronic vouchers received the first installment of HK$2,000 on Wednesday, but some elderly people only learnt that their applications failed when the money wasn’t available.

Some of them headed to the spending voucher scheme’s office at Pioneer Centre in Mong Kok, demanding answers.

“It’s a mess! It’s so crowded here and I’ve been waiting for hours. I almost fainted,” a woman said.

“Those who fail to get the vouchers are all elderly people. We are not youngsters who know how to use the internet. I deserve to get the money!”

A man who was shouting outside the office said poor elderly people were shortchanged by the government.

“Why make it so complicated? Just let us show our identity cards and get the money from the banks!”

The DAB said more than 1,000 applicants, many of them elderly people, had sought help from the party.

It said many of them had missed text messages sent by the government telling them their applications had been unsuccessful due to reasons such as incorrect information and a lack of relevant documents. And they also missed the deadline for submitting additional documents.

After holding talks with officials, DAB lawmaker Horace Cheung said the government agreed to extend the deadline for submitting additional documents by two weeks to September 15.

In a statement issued afterwards, authorities said people will receive the first installment of HK$2,000 on October 1 after their applications are approved.
Last updated: 2021-09-01 HKT 21:35