Homeless woman lies dead for hours at a McDonald's in HK

HONG KONG • A homeless woman in Hong Kong lay dead for hours at a McDonald's restaurant surrounded by diners who failed to notice her, sparking concern over the city's "McRefugees".

The woman, who police say was aged between 50 and 60, was found dead last Saturday morning and has been held up as an example of the growing number of homeless people who seek shelter in 24-hour restaurants.

"Officers arrived upon a report from a female customer (that a person was found to have fainted)," police said in a statement. "The subject was certified dead at the scene."

Local media said the woman was slumped at a table, 24 hours after she entered the restaurant in the working-class district of Ping Shek in Kowloon.

She had not moved for seven hours before fellow diners noticed something was wrong, Apple Daily reported, citing CCTV footage.

 

The woman, who police say was between 50 and 60, was found dead last Saturday morning and has been held up as an example of the growing number of homeless people who seek shelter in 24-hour restaurants.

The woman was thought to have regularly spent nights in the McDonald's outlet, the South China Morning Post said.

The city's Social Welfare Department said it was "highly concerned" about the incident.

"We endeavour to support street sleepers to enhance their self-reliance... the subject is a complex social problem," said a spokesman from the department.

There are growing concerns over the plight of the homeless population in the affluent southern Chinese financial hub, although their number is relatively low, estimated at more than 1,000 by local NGOs.

Many are forced to live on the streets because they cannot afford to rent even the tiniest home as housing prices are sky high.

In sweltering temperatures and high humidity, some find shelter in air-conditioned restaurants that are open 24 hours.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Homeless woman lies dead for hours at a McDonald's in HK'. Print Edition | Subscribe