Fourteen of them filed a writ with the tribunal to claim compensation of up to HK$13,000 after being evicted from Tung Chau Street Park in Sham Shui Po along with their belongings in December 2019.

Only seven of them attended the tribunal hearing yesterday - one had passed away, two were out of reach and the rest were either in hospital or in jail.

The tribunal heard that on December 21, 2019, riot police were evicting street sleepers in the park in an anti-crime operation. At the same time, cleaners from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department disposed of their belongings. Before the hearing, the seven street sleepers and Society for Community Organization's Ng Wai-tung protested outside the West Kowloon law courts.

They were chanting slogans such as "sleeping in the street is sinless, whereas eviction is unreasonable" while holding a banner reading: "It is the third time street sleepers - one of whom had passed away - are suing the government."

Street sleeper Chow Hung-kwong brought a portrait of his deceased cousin Ma Yuet-wing - also a street sleeper - with him. He said outside court that the constables gave them only three minutes to leave. But he could not do that as he had to tend to his cousin in a wheelchair. "My belongings were subsequently cleared, including HK$800 in cash and a mattress," he said.

But inspector Ng Pin-yak, who led the operation, said street sleepers were given 25 minutes to pack up, not three minutes.

Another street sleeper, Lau Ka-hei, said the cleaners dumped his belongings - a backpack, a phone, several cans of luncheon meat and HK$3,000 in cash - into a garbage truck.

Ng criticized the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for not giving the street sleepers at least 24 hours' notice so they could pack their belongings in advance.