Coronavirus: HK trio stranded in Poland urge city’s government for help in returning home, with one kicked out of hotel following ban

06-Apr-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Three Hongkongers stranded in Poland have called for assistance from their government, as one of them was evicted from his hotel after a ban on guests kicked in amid coronavirus fears.

Their appeals came as about 65 Hong Kong residents trapped in Peru are set to be evacuated home by Sunday at the earliest. They will all be tested for Covid-19.

Among the trio stranded in Poland was Eric Ting Sai-kit, 37, a tourist in Krakow. He said he would run out of money in a week, and hoped the Hong Kong government could provide information on how to obtain a flight ticket home.

The tutor started his European tour in late January and was supposed to return to Hong Kong on February 10, but decided to extend his journey as the dreaded disease was affecting mostly China at the time.

Coronavirus: Hongkongers stuck in Peru to fly home this week

By the time he got to Poland, the pandemic had started its global sweep, and the country went into lockdown with all flights grounded on March 15.

He was left in limbo on Wednesday when he was kicked out of his hotel, he said, after a new government ban took effect, preventing establishments from taking in guests. Ting said the hotel refused to refund him the rest of his prepaid room charges.

He said the hotel, where he had planned to stay until April 17, even packed all his belongings in his room and put them at the reception without his consent.

“I was really shocked,” Ting said, pointing out that the legislation only took effect a day after he was booted out and therefore hotel staff had no right to touch his possessions.

Desperate, Ting sought help through social media. A Macau woman who lives in the nearby town of Wieliczka offered him a room in her house for rent. The Chinese embassy in Warsaw is also assisting him on the refund.

“I’m expecting to see the day I will be able to buy a flight ticket home with help from the Hong Kong government … [And that they will also help] all stranded Hongkongers here,” Ting said.

Besides him, two Hong Kong women are stranded in Gdansk and Lublin respectively, according to Kwai Tsing district councillor Ray Chow Wai-hung, who had been assisting the trio.

The women, one surnamed Lai and the other, Mimi Fung, were still allowed to stay in their hotels without imminent financial difficulties. The pair hoped the Hong Kong government could help them return as soon as possible, Chow said.

Fung, in her 30s, told the Post she had to come home urgently to settle fees for the elderly care home where her mother stayed. “I don’t need a charter flight, which is too troublesome for the government. All I can do is to wait for the resumption of the airport,” the restaurant waitress said.

Chow urged the Hong Kong Immigration Department and the Polish government to provide assistance, including securing flight tickets home.

On Saturday the Immigration Department said it had learned more about the situation through the foreign ministry office in Hong Kong and the Chinese embassy in Poland, and had provided assistance.

Separately, 65 Hong Kong residents who signed up for chartered flights from Peru to Hong Kong are set to fly on British Airways from Lima to London on late Friday afternoon.

Twenty-nine of them will have to take a domestic chartered flight to Lima from Cusco. In London, they would then board another flight back to Hong Kong, and are expected to arrive on Sunday evening.

A government spokesman said four Malaysians would join the domestic flight from Cusco to Lima, and six Malaysians and five British nationals would fly together with Hongkongers to London.

Those arriving in Hong Kong would be tested at the AsiaWorld-Expo upon arrival and put on home quarantine for 14 days.

They are required to cover the costs of the flights, which would be up to HK$35,600 (US$4,600) per person.


Category: Hong Kong

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