Hong Kong is rolling out its second batch of electronic consumption vouchers next month. However, more citizens have been notified that they are not eligible for the handout, and many do not accept the reasons they were excluded.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said on July 17 that around 240,000 citizens had been disqualified from the 2022 Consumption Voucher Scheme (CVS).

Hong Kong introduced the program last year as an effort to bolster the city’s economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eligible residents would receive 5,000 Hong Kong dollars, which is nearly 637 US dollars. 

The program excludes locals planning to emigrate or those who have been away from Hong Kong for three years in a row between June 18, 2019, and June 22 this year without specific reasons.

Permanent departure status would be understood for those who had withdrawn their Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) account early. It is an occupational retirement scheme for those under 65 who apply for permanent departure from Hong Kong.

The criteria are screening out more than just those who are dropping their Hong Kong citizenship.

As Hong Kong Coconuts reported, the criteria objectively eliminated returnees or locals who had previously fled to another nation, particularly around the time of Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997, but who have now moved back to Hong Kong. 

One such example is CK, who is in his 60s. CK has been living in Hong Kong over the past 12 years and contributing to the MPF scheme. But because he previously withdrew money from MPF as he left the city two decades ago, he has been disqualified.

Steven Lai, a 45-year-old restaurant manager, told Hong Kong Free Press that he withdrew his MPF early as he planned to leave for the mainland in 2020. He later changed his decision and has never left the city.

According to the Press, Hong Kong authorities are open to reviewing applicants. As of July 19, about 4,000 complaints have been filed.

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