New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, New Territories. Photos: Google Maps, Wikipedia Commons, Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin

Photos showing a domestic worker smoking while holding a baby in Sha Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories went viral on Wednesday. A netizen named Pui Yee posted five photos on a Facebook page called “Support Group for HK Employers with FDHs”, or foreign domestic helpers.

She said she had seen two domestic workers in an open area of the New Town Plaza. The maids were chatting happily but one of them, holding a child in a baby carrier, was smoking.

Pui Yee said she was not sure how old the baby was since there was a cloth covering it, but she was very angry about the maid’s behavior.

She took photos of the maids and posted them on a Facebook page dedicated to people who hired foreign domestic workers. The photos were then shared to a page called “Sha Tin District”, in hopes that the maid’s employer noticed the situation and the baby could be free from second-hand smoke, Oriental Daily reported.

Many local netizens left comments and slammed the maid for what they considered irresponsible behavior, Ming Pao reported.

Michael Lee, convener of the Liberal Party’s Task Force on Foreign Helpers’ Problems, said there was usually not much employers could do to prevent such behavior, as it was very difficult to prove that a maid was smoking under inappropriate circumstances.

He suggested that employers ask the maid during the hiring interview whether she is a smoker, alcoholic or drug abuser and have her put her declaration in writing.

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