Members of a tight-knit village community have expressed shock over the news that a friendly woman neighbour they knew as “Hoi Yi” had died after being found unconscious in a toilet at a public hospital in Hong Kong, with the city’s health minister voicing regret over the incident.
At the A Kung Ngam village in Shau Kei Wan, residents on Wednesday told the Post about the pain they felt over losing the woman, 58, who had lived in the area all her life.
“It’s not a good thing. Suddenly we lost another person,” said an elderly man who lives in the village and has known the deceased since she was a child. “She is unlucky that death chose her.”
The woman was found unconscious in an accessible toilet and later certified dead in Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan on Monday. She attended the hospital’s accident and emergency department on Sunday night with reports of fever and a cough. But she waited more than 12 hours to be assessed.
Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau on Wednesday offered his condolences and vowed to improve patient safety.
The case had been referred to the Coroner’s Court for follow-up, and the government would look into improvements after findings from the investigation were released, he said.
A Kung Ngam village is filled with squatter homes, many of which are built from improvised materials. The front door and windows of the deceased’s home were shut and there were no signs of activity when the Post visited.
According to the elderly villager, who wished to remain anonymous, the woman was previously known as a man and used the names “Chung Tsai” or “Chung”. The name means “Little Boy Chung” in Chinese. The villager said in recent years she had asked to be called “Hoi Yi”, a woman’s name, which he followed out of respect.
The longtime village resident described Ho Yi as having friendly relations with neighbours and her family, noting that he never saw her arguing with loved ones.
Her remaining family members included a younger brother and an aunt on her mother’s side. The elderly man said Hoi Yi’s parents and three uncles had died within the past five to 10 years.
He said the woman’s family had requested privacy during this period.
Another resident, a driver surnamed Yau, 40, said he was saddened to hear about Hoi Yi’s death.
“It is really sudden to hear about her death. I would not say she was particularly active, but I would see her walking around. It didn’t seem that she had anything wrong with her,” he said about the deceased, who was chronically ill.
Yau has lived in the village for the past nine years. He said he noticed Ho Yi regularly clearing leaves from a path near his home.
However, he pointed out he had rarely seen her doing so since 2021. He said she would talk to people she was close to, but he rarely saw or spoke to her.