Hong Kong experienced a shortage of masks during the first wave of Wuhan Pneumonia early this year. With citizens scrambling for masks across the city, many questioned the whereabouts of the government’s stockpile of CSi masks, produced locally by inmates under Correctional Services.
According to a report to the Legislature on August 21, 2020, the government released its records on personal protective equipment from the first 7 months of the year, including the number of masks distributed to its various departments.
The Hong Kong Police Force is shown to have received over 3.47 million masks made by CSi. This exceeds even the number received by the Department of Health, which ranked second, by over 300,000. Nearly 50 million masks were also procured from sources other than CSi for various government departments. Of these, the Police Force received 3.61 million masks, ranking fourth behind Social Welfare Department (13 million), Housing Authority (8.27 million), and Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (7.6 million).
With the 7.08 million masks received, the Police Force had enough to supply its 31,190 members with 226 masks each, averaging more than one per day during the 7-month period.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam was widely noted for demanding her officials to “take off your mask even if you’re wearing one” during the most severe period of shortage. However, the report noted that the Chief Executive’s Office had received over 13,000 masks over the course of the 7 months, of which over 11,000 were made by CSi.
The offices of the Chief Secretary and Financial Secretary have similarly received some 13,000 masks, more than Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, Development Bureau, and a number of other departments.
Source: Apple Daily