Visually impaired with her guide dog rejected by a Japanese restaurant in Kwun Tong

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Yesterday, a visually impaired lady, Wing Wen, and her guide dog, Delta, was asked to leave at Chougiyo Funaya Japanese Resturant in Kwun Tong, even she already placed an order.

According to the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, anyone who refuses the visually impaired to bring a guide dog into public premises or refuses to provide him with services or facilities, may be deemed to have violated the Ordinance. Hong Kong Blind Union said that they felt sad and angry that the visually impaired has been discriminated against and would request Equal Opportunities Commission and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to follow up on the incident.

The restaurant involved immediately uploaded a picture of a bulldog at its restaurant on facebook, expressing deep concern and issued an apology for the customer’s unpleasant experience, saying that it raised great concern. They assembled a meeting with all employees to review what happened. After investigation, they learned that the person responsible that day was a new staff who was not familiar with the company’s usual practice. The restaurant admitted that they were not considerate enough and their understanding on the law was weak leading to such an unpleasant incident.

This is the picture Chougiyo Funaya Japanese Resturant with an apology and explanation.

Still, many netizens jumped into the conversation and criticised the restaurant’s behaviour. “Why do you let a bulldog in and put up this picture while rejecting a guide dog?” A netizen said. One of the restaurant owners explained “It’s my bulldog whom I brought in after work a few months ago. I love dogs. The issue is not about whether we love dogs or not, it’s our negligence of our staff who doesn’t know guide dogs are allowed to be in.” He further added “The Food and Environment Hygiene Department states dogs are not allowed but then our operation manager was not on duty that day. We knew it’s our operation mistake. In the past half year, things are tough, staff management become a challenge…..this is not a discrimination. We had already held an internal meeting with all employees, apologised to the customer involved and will do everything to prevent this incident from happening again. We hope we all learn from this and have a better understanding on the role of guide dogs from now on”

Fact is told – many people are not fully aware of the Ordinance which protects the visually impaired and guide dogs’ right to have access to public premises. We hope more, if still not all, restaurant owners know now and don’t be ignorant and dismissive of it.

Related reading: The ultimate guide on CBD for pets
Related reading: Pet-friendly hotels and serviced apartments in Hong Kong

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