We haven’t seen Juimao in weeks. He’s not shown up at any of the football practices, hasn’t visited the welfare centre, hasn’t called. His social worker says she last spoke to him about a month ago. Then, she’d asked him if he’d finally given up drinking. He shook his head, smiled, said it was impossible.

A week earlier, Juimao had struck a deal with managers of the football team – stay sober, and he’d be allowed to go to the Homeless World Cup in South Africa. The prospect of seeing a new country and meeting strange new people had initially seemed like the very thing he needed to turn things around. But a three-decade long habit is a hard thing to shake. Juimao said the withdrawal symptoms were just too much to take.

The last time we met was during football training. He arrived bearing gifts – cans of Coca Cola – for the two of us. He said his boss at the cha chan teng where he works had given them to him. He shoved the drinks into our hands and shuffled away. He’s not been in touch since.

We’ve tried looking for him – at the Cultural Centre where he often spends the night, around Shamshuipo, and in Temple Street, near where he works. So far, our efforts haven’t been successful. We hope he’s doing OK. We like the old guy. He’s near-60, a mild-mannered drunk with a quirky sense of humour and a genuinely generous heart.

We once spent a humid, airless night wandering around town with Juimao, looking for a place to sleep. He insisted on paying for the taxi fare to the Cultural Centre and rebuffed our attempts at buying him dinner. Chinese rice wine, he said, was enough to sustain him. He told us he drank up to six bottles a day.

He showed us his favourite sleeping spot – by the pier, where there’s always a bit of breeze. We settled down, stared at the sea, started chatting a little, only to have the peace disrupted by a younger, drunker guy. We had to move.

Did we once say that it was tough finding rest in Hong Kong?

We left at two that morning. He had to work at seven and needed his rest. We left him, curled up on the pier across the Peninsula, right next to a gigantic poster of the city skyline, just underneath a slogan that screamed – Hong Kong, Land of Discovery.

We don’t think he’s returned to the Cultural Centre since – we’ve looked several times and haven’t seen him there.

Where is Juimao? We hope he’s OK.