Five Indonesian maids were sent to hospital due to food poisoning due to a gathering in Mei Foo. Photo: Google Maps

It has emerged that five Indonesian domestic workers were sent to hospital after suspected food poisoning during a gathering on a street in Mei Foo, Kowloon, on July 30. A rumor that one of them died has been refuted.

At 2pm, police received a report that five Indonesian women, aged between 23 to 30, were suffering from diarrhea and vomiting at an open area outside Mount Sterling Mall in Mei Foo, Apple Daily reported.

All of them were sent to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment and discharged later. A rumor circulated that one of the maids had died in hospital, but this was later reported to have been false.

The Hong Kong Department of Health is investigating the incident, which was not reported by local media until a three-minute video surfaced on social media this past weekend.

In the video, three maids were seen lying unconscious on the ground as a paramedic put oxygen masks on them. Watermelon, soft drinks and Indonesian food were scattered on a plastic tablecloth on the ground.

Several Indonesians said they were surprised to hear about the collective food-poisoning incident. Some of them suspected that the five maids got sick from the watermelon, but others suspected home-made food made with tapioca as the culprit.

The heat on July 30 may have contributed to the incident by helping some of the food to go bad. The Hong Kong Observatory recorded a high of 34.8 degrees Celsius that day.

Sham Shui Po district councilor Ng Yuet-lan, who witnessed the incident, said domestic workers liked to gather in the open area under the Mei Foo flyover on their days off on Sunday. Ng advised the maids to be cautious when they prepared home-made food for sharing during hot weather as the food might easily turn bad, Ming Pao Daily reported.

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