Watchdog probes 'misuse' of govt face masks - RTHK
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Watchdog probes 'misuse' of govt face masks

2020-03-05 HKT 12:07
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  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam distributed CSI masks at an elderly care home last month. File photo courtesy of the Information Services Department
    Chief Executive Carrie Lam distributed CSI masks at an elderly care home last month. File photo courtesy of the Information Services Department
The Ombudsman, Winnie Chiu, has announced that the watchdog will investigate claims that face masks made for the government by the city's prisoners are being misused and even sold on the market.

The green masks marked "CSI" – for Correctional Services Industries – are used by officials, police officers and civil servants, with some also sold by the government to social welfare organisations and schools.

Last year, the Correctional Services Department (CSD) supplied an average of 1.1 million of them to the Government Logistics Department (GLD) for distribution to various departments.

“Amid the epidemic of COVID-19 infection in recent months, there is a spike in public demand for surgical masks. The media and members of the public have reported that CSI masks are available on the market, calling into question whether CSI masks have been misused or resold without authorisation,” the Ombudsman said on Thursday.

“In this connection, the Ombudsman decided to launch a direct investigation into the system and procedures regulating the production, distribution and stocktaking of CSI masks and the implementation of such a system and procedures by the CSD and GLD,” she said.

Chiu also said she would make recommendations to close any loopholes and avoid any abuse of CSI masks, if inadequacies are identified.