Woman exposed for faking 600sqft public housing unit in video shared on Xiaohongshu

Insert picture: Rosanna Law

29th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) A video featuring a “full-time mom” wearing sportswear and yoga pants went viral on Xiaohongshu. The video showcased a purported 600-square-foot public housing unit in Tung Chung, with stunning sea views. However, it was later revealed that the woman in the video does not reside in the housing estate and was merely flaunting her supposed wealth. This incident has raised concerns about the misuse of public housing in Hong Kong.

Rosanna Law, the Permanent Secretary for Housing, addressed the case during a press conference yesterday (28th). She highlighted that the housing estate in question does not have any units with an area of 600 square feet. Upon investigating the unit and contacting the registered household, it was discovered that the woman in the video was not a resident but engaged in false representation for the purpose of showcasing affluence. Law stated that the authorities have deployed personnel to monitor online platforms and will take appropriate action against such misuse of public housing units. In fact, there have been successful cases where units have been reclaimed due to misuse.

To strengthen the reporting system, Law mentioned considering incentives, similar to the concept of “Good Citizen Award,” to encourage citizens to report such violations. This may involve providing certificates or monetary rewards to individuals who provide valuable information.

Law stated that the Housing Department has assigned personnel to monitor online platforms such as Carousell, and Airbnb. Whenever there is suspicion of public housing misuse, investigations are initiated, and several successful cases have been resolved. One case involved the rental of a public housing unit on the Carousel appl. Through careful investigation, the authorities confirmed the violation and issued an eviction notice to the involved party at the end of September this year. The unit owner appealed the case but was unsuccessful.

Another successful case relied on public reports and involved the leasing of a public housing unit on the Airbnb platform. Law explained that after receiving the report, Housing Department staff used the uploaded photos on the platform to identify the unit located in Kai Tak Estate. Upon investigation, it was confirmed that the lease agreement had been breached. Consequently, an eviction notice was issued, and although the unit owner appealed, it was not successful.

Based on Housing Department data, as of November in the 2023/24 fiscal year, nearly 2,000 units have been reclaimed due to rental arrears and the misuse of public housing. Law estimates that the number of units reclaimed this year will likely exceed the 2,200 units reclaimed in the previous year.