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How much is a life worth? Not much, if measured by fines for employer negligence in Macau bridge construction

How much is the life of a worker in Hong Kong worth nowadays? According to the courts, as little as HK$15,000, if they die as a result of employer negligence over safety.

Not only is this sum derisory, but fines for negligent companies involved in the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge have been plunging downwards since the first convictions for safety breaches were brought in 2018.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong port artificial island. Photo: GovHK.

A new low point was reached last Monday when two companies, WSS Engineering Systems and United Construction and Manpower, were fined HK$30,000 each for two deaths resulting from what magistrate Lam Tsz-kan described as  “turning a blind eye to the safety of working conditions” and not fulfilling their responsibilities as employers.

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