`We Are Not Prepared'

More immigrants, and a bigger wealth gap, are straining government services

On the fourth-floor landing, Choi Shu Fong pauses to catch her breath. For Choi, 73, getting to and from her tiny sixth-floor apartment is a daily challenge. The old building in the congested Sham Shui Po section of Kowloon has no elevator. At the fifth floor, she pauses again, grasps the banister, and after one more flight finally makes it to her 300-square-foot flat. Choi, who has no children, makes ends meet by renting out a closet-size bedroom to a middle-aged couple for $230 a month. A five-foot-tall woman with a bright smile, Choi says she needs more than the $78 she gets monthly from the government. "Welfare should be expanded so the elderly can have a good living," she says.

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