Neglecting and abandoning the elderly should be made an offense, a lawmaker has suggested.
While it is a crime to neglect a child, the same does not apply to the elderly. So elderly negligence and abandonment should be made illegal under the Offences against the Person Ordinance, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said.
Speaking at a meeting on welfare services in the Legislative Council yesterday, Cheung said there are no specific laws to protect elderly from being abandoned and neglected.
The current laws are applicable to the general public, not specifically designed for elderly, he said.
Cheung also criticized the government for maintaining messy abuse records of the mentally handicapped and patients suffering from mental disorders.
He said the relevant data given by the Social Welfare Department were not in accord with what is given by the police. He urged the Labour and Welfare Bureau to unify the data base.
According to Labour and Welfare Bureau, there were nine cases of abuse in elderly centers and 17 abuse cases in residential care homes for people with disabilities in the past three years.
Lawmakers have passed a non-binding motion tabled by Cheung urging the government to review the law and legislate to protect elderly and mentally handicapped people from abuse.
Undersecretary for Labour and Welfare Caspar Tsui Ying-wai said there are already laws to protect people from different groups, including the Offences against the Person Ordinance.
The bureau will review the enforcement of the laws and try to raise the standard of caring for elderly and handicapped people.
He said the Social Welfare Department has been serious when patrolling elderly centers, adding that the warnings issued have reduced from more than 400 in 2016 to 70 last year.