Hong Kong Man Assaults McDonald’s Worker over Contact Tracing App

A man in Hong Kong assaulted a McDonald’s employee with his mobile phone on Thursday after the worker asked him to download a coronavirus contact tracing app required to visit businesses amid the pandemic and the man refused.

The suspect attempted to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Hong Kong’s Ngau Chi Wan area at around 6:00 am on February 18, local news outlet HK01 reported. A staff member told the man to use the Hong Kong government’s “Leave Home Safe” app on his smartphone to scan a QR code outside the restaurant or enter his contact information on a paper form before entering the restaurant. City health authorities currently require all Hong Kong businesses to enforce the contact-tracing protocol as part of newly enacted coronavirus restrictions.

The suspect, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, “refused to download the app or write down his contact details,” according to the report. He then “entered the restaurant forcibly, but was stopped by the staff [member].” An argument soon sparked between the man and the McDonald’s worker, 26. During the altercation, “the customer used his phone to strike the worker before fleeing.”

The victim suffered injuries to his forehead during the physical assault, according to local media outlet Coconuts Hong Kong. The McDonald’s restaurant staff reported the attack to local police who arrived on the scene roughly 30 minutes later but the suspect had already fled the premises. Police later classified the incident as “assault occasioning bodily harm.”

“The male employee was conscious after the attack and sent to United Christian Hospital for treatment. Police are still searching for the man,” a Hong Kong police spokeswoman said in a statement, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong government’s new “Leave Home Safe” smartphone app records the names of businesses frequented by its users, along with the time and date of the visit “and stores the information on their phone for 31 days,” according to the SCMP. Patrons wishing to visit most businesses or restaurants in Hong Kong are required to download and use the app before entering the site. If they choose not to use the smartphone app, they have the option to write down their personal information on paper forms and deposit the document into an on-site drop-box. “Leave Home Safe” app users “will receive an alert if a confirmed case is identified at any of the venues they have visited,” according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper.

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