Domestic workers in Hong Kong on a day off. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers in Hong Kong on a day off. Photo: Asia Times

About 200 domestic workers marched to the New People’s Party offices in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island on Sunday to demand an apology from lawmaker Eunice Yung Hoi-yan over remarks she made about them.

The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body and International Migrants Alliance organized a rally with participants holding slogans saying “Defend our space,” “Protect our community” and chanting slogans like “We are workers, we are not slaves” as they marched from Central to Wan Chai, the Apple Daily reported.

The group viewed Yung’s statements made at the Legislative Council last week on domestic workers in Hong Kong as “racist, discriminatory and offensive with the aim of fanning hatred and anti-migrant sentiments in the society.”

Yung said that while on days off, large numbers of domestic workers gathered in public spaces where they sit, eat and sleep on the ground, affecting other people’s daily lives and businesses. She also claimed that this problem also raised a public hygiene issue and questioned the secretary for labor and welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, last week about the government’s plan to set up centers for maids to use during their rest days.

When the protesters arrived, Yung appeared in person to accept the petition letter and said sorry to the group, adding that she did not mean to offend anyone when she made the remarks.

She said her original intent by making the remarks was to seek updates on outdated regulations so as to let domestic workers have more centers to use on their rest days.

Eman Villanueva, the spokesperson for the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, said he welcomed Yung’s apology, but he hoped she would issue a public statement to apologize to all domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Read: Lawmaker urges action on maids clustering in public areas