Make them pay


Make them pay

The government seems to be helpless in tackling the problem of the influx of mainland women coming to give birth in Hong Kong, overstretching our medical services and incurring bad debts for the Hospital Authority. I would therefore like to suggest some effective measures.

Out of respect for life, we cannot turn away mainlanders who really need to give birth here. However, the government should not allow these women to leave Hong Kong until they have settled their hospital bills. Since the Hospital Authority has a huge deficit, perhaps they could be forced to do chores, such as cleaning the floors. If they have no intention of paying, they should be jailed for several months - as a warning to other mainland women intent on abusing our medical services.


Wow, put women who have just given birth into involuntary servitude or jail! This may be a new low for the SCMP letters page.

UPDATE: it reminds me a little of the following exchange (from Blackadder the Third):

Edmund: Well, according to `Who's Who', his interests include flogging servants, shooting poor people, and the extension of slavery to anyone who hasn't got a knighthood.

Prince George: Excellent! Sensible policies for a happier Britain!

So what can be done about this actually rather small problem? Deny residency to any child born here if neither of the parents are ordinarily resident or if the mother has clearly come to take advantage of getting residency for her child. It may not be easy to legislate, but insisting that some judicial review of the child's residency status is required if neither parent is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or has a Hong Kong ID card should do it. That wouldn't interfere with most births, and would remove the reason that most of the mainland women who have their babies here do so.

The fact that there is a relatively small number of women who leave the SAR after giving birth without paying their bill is actually quite a small matter. The real issue is the growing number of youngsters on the China side who have Hong Kong residency and have the right to turn up and live off welfare payments/get public housing. Our welfare handout is small for a Hong Konger, but for a mainland Chinese it's a pretty substantial amount. (CSSA Standard Rates)

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on November 27, 2006 1:08 PM.

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