2 Cathay Pacific crew members charged for flouting medical surveillance rules claim during trial today company allows them to go out to buy food and visit friends

Nilsson Lau Kok-wang (left) and Wong Yoon-loong, 45, a Malaysian (right)

15th August 2022 – (Hong Kong) At the end of last year, 2 Cathay Pacific crew members, Wong Yoon-loong, 45, a Malaysian and Nilsson Lau Kok-wang, 44, violated quarantine exemption and went into the community triggering the fifth wave of COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong. The two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants were later charged with three counts of flouting medical surveillance rules. They denied the charges and the trial started today (15th) at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court.

The opening statement mentioned that the Department of Health expressly stipulates that persons under medical surveillance are not allowed to go out unless necessary until they have obtained their first virus test results. However, the two defendants revealed under caution that it was Cathay Pacific who told them that daily activities such as going out to buy food, visiting friends, and picking up children from school were all permitted activities.

Both have have reported to be unemployed. The two crew members of Cathay Pacific at the time returned to Hong Kong from work in New York and Chicago on 24th and 25th December, 2021, respectively. Upon arrival, they were issued a medical surveillance notice by the airport health personnel, stipulating that the two must observe a series of precautionary measures within the next 21 days.

However, Wong took the MTR and bus to visit Lau at The Sea Crest  in Tuen Mun the next day after arriving in Hong Kong. Lau had only arrived in Hong Kong for a few hours at that time. On the same day, Lau went out to pick up a package. Two days later, he and his father went to the Festival Walk for a meal. The latter two were tested positive for the Omicron virus and required treatment.

Police arrested the two in January this year after they recovered. The opening statement continued that Wong said under the caution that he did not know that the law did not allow him to go out within 3 days after arriving in Hong Kong. Under caution, Lau said that Wong came to visit that day to give him a Christmas present. Later, because Lau’s father urgently needed a mobile phone, he asked his father to meet for dinner to hand over the mobile phone. Lau pointed out that the airport health staff did not explain other conditions except for instructing him to take his temperature every day and to conduct a total of six virus tests during the medical surveillance period. And according to an email from Cathay Pacific to Lau, he was allowed to go out to eat with his family.