Hong Kong chief exec calls bid to disrupt organ donation system a ‘disgrace’

“I strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the altruistic purpose of organ donation", Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said.


Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu speaks to the media ahead of an Executive Council meeting on May 23, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

May 24, 2023

HONG KONG – Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Tuesday strongly condemned the attempts to disrupt the centralized organ donation register with repeated withdrawal and invalid applications, describing such attempts as a “disgrace”.

Addressing the media ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lee stressed “organ donation is an important life-saving cooperation mechanism and patients who suffered organ failure will benefit from organ donation.”

There was an active promotion of organ donation everywhere in the world and the government also worked hard to promote it, said Lee, adding that it would continue to promote cooperation with the Chinese mainland authorities as some Hong Kong patients had benefited from the cooperation.

I strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the altruistic purpose of organ donation and we notice an irregular amount of cancelation under the centralized organ donation register.

John Lee, Chief Executive, HKSAR

The Department of Health said on Monday that, from December 2022 to April 2023, a total of 5,785 withdrawal applications for organ donation were filed, which was significantly higher than what was recorded in the past. It added that the percentage of invalid withdrawals was as high as 74 percent in February.

“I strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the altruistic purpose of organ donation and we notice an irregular amount of cancelation under the centralized organ donation register,” Lee said.

Over half of the cancelation involved cases that was never registered in the first place and there were also requests for repeated cancelation, he said, adding that it would be dubious and suspicious if someone had not even registered but asked to cancel the registration.

“I strongly condemn such attempts to distort the value of this noble organ donation initiative. We should all condemn such attempts as this is a ‘disgrace’,” Lee stressed.

“I have tasked the police to conduct investigations into these cases to see if any law has been broken,” he added.

HK$2 fare concession

Meanwhile, Lee said the government would step up its measures to ensure the HK$2 ($0.26) public transportation fare concession scheme would not be abused.

Government figures showed there were abnormal cases in the fare concession program for the elderly and those with disabilities and the relevant departments would review the program to see if it was abused and would deal with the situation seriously, he said.

“I have asked the relevant departments to step up enforcement actions (for a strong deterrent effect). But equally, I think they should step up education campaign as well so that everybody will make good use of the system,” the chief executive said.

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Regarding public opinions on raising the fare to HK$3, he said there were diverse views in the community on how the scheme could be improved and the government would take all opinions into consideration.

Q&A session with legislators

Lee also said his first new Q&A session in the Legislative Council last Thursday was very fruitful and legislators had given him a number of constructive comments, hailing it as “a new chapter for exchange and interaction”.

“Every LegCo member was well-prepared in asking questions. We had a very good exchange and I had learned from their constructive input”, he said.

Overseas visit

Lee said he and other officials had been making a lot of visits to promote Hong Kong, to raise Hong Kong’s attraction and competitiveness, to develop business opportunities for Hong Kong, and to sell Hong Kong, adding that he would be making visits overseas in the coming months, as things were being planned out and details would be confirmed soon.

READ MORE: CE to visit GZ, SZ to boost GBA integration

Regarding the pay rise for civil servants, Lee said the government would adjust their salaries based on its effective and long-standing mechanism.

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