Another swimmer dies in Sai Kung shark attack

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 June, 1993, 12:00am

Editor's note: This article was originally written in 1993 but was reposted by a reader on Facebook the week of May 14, 2013. editors decided to add the original date of publication at the foot of the article to clear up any confusion. As a result of this change, the article also display's today's date as an update.

A 61-YEAR-OLD swimmer who ignored shark warnings died yesterday after his leg and hand were bitten off at Silverstrand Beach, Sai Kung, yesterday.

The death of morning swim enthusiast Kwong Kong-hing sparked an emergency meeting between relevant government departments, which may fly in overseas shark hunters and experts to deal with the problem. Mr Kwong, a furniture shop operator, was the second shark attack victim within 10 days, after hair salon owner Yan Sai-wah, 42, lost a leg and died at nearby Sheung Sz Wan.

Two years ago, 65-year-old Yeung Kam-ho was killed by a tiger shark at Silverstrand. Following the 7.15 am attack yesterday, at least one shark was seen cruising the area about 200 metres from shore before disappearing at noon.

The South China Morning Post spotted one about four metres long, with part of its dorsel fin above the water. A Marine Police launch was standing by but did not take action. Mr Kwong went into the water at Silverstrand Beach around 5.30, as he had done almost every morning for the past three years.

About two hours later, a shark swam into chest-deep water and attacked him. His friend, Man Chik-wong, who was about three metres away, said: ''I heard someone shouting 'shark, shark' from the shore and I immediately swam towards the beach.

''After reaching the shore, I saw his body floating around a pool of blood and everybody rushed out of the water. Afterwards, two men and I went out again and took him to the beach. ''He was unconscious and his whole left leg and right hand were missing. We immediately used towels to cover his injuries, which were still bleeding.''

Police and ambulancemen took Mr Kwong to United Christian Hospital, where he was certified dead due to massive loss of blood.

Mr Man, a retired businessman who has been swimming at the beach for about 20 years, said: ''We were cautious not to swim too far from shore after the attack in Sheung Sz Wan. ''We only swam in shallow water and did not go to the diving board. We never expected such an attack could happen in shallow water.''

An amah, So Yung, who witnessed the attack from her house, said: ''I heard very clearly a man screaming in Cantonese 'help' and 'shark' shortly before 7.30 am when I opened the curtain and window in my master bedroom.

''I saw a man floating in a pool of blood. It was horrible. ''Minutes later, I saw two sharks swimming slowly from left to right about 100 metres from the shore. I saw very clearly that they were sharks. They only appeared for a few minutes.''

Miss So added that one was about two metres long and the other about one metre. Another resident Telly Lumontod said: ''At about 8am, I saw a six-foot long big fish shadow off the beach. But I could not identify whether it was shark because I did not see a fin.''

Mr Kwong is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. Following last week's attack at Sheung Sz Wan, his family had advised him not to go swimming in Sai Kung but Mr Kwong insisted and said he would only swim in shallow water. His son, Kwong Wai-yin, 24, said Mr Kwong had been swimming for 40 years because he said it made him ''more healthy to swim in the morning''.

''My father got up at five and walked 20 minutes to Silverstrand via Hang Hau every morning. He usually swam until 7 am and went home. He would then go out for Chinese tea with my mother after a shower,'' he said.

He said his father used to swim under the Lai Chi Kok flyover until they moved to Tsueng Kwan O in 1990. Fishery officer David Cook yesterday said representatives of the Agriculture and Fisheries and Regional Services Departments, as well as Marine Police, had met to discuss what steps should be taken to promote public safety in the wake of the two attacks. Overseas shark hunters and experts could be flown in to deal with what the Government is calling an emergency situation.

Mr Cook said: ''This is an emergency situation and it is not something we are geared to deal with, so it is likely we will need to look abroad for expertise. ''The reason we didn't mount a hunt for the fish 10 days ago is that the chances were it was an isolated incident and the shark would move on. Now we wouldn't rule out the possibility that it is the same shark.

''We have no immediate plans to hunt the fish but a decision will be made soon.'' Mr Cook said Australian shark hunter Vic Hislop is one of the people the Government was considering asking for help.

Two years ago the Government unsuccessfully hunted a shark that fatally mauled a 65-year-old woman in Silverstrand Bay. Mr Cook said: ''That operation was mounted largely because of pressure from the media because it is a very emotive subject.

''This is a very abnormal situation because prior to 1991 we went for 11 years without a shark attack. If you go for that long with nothing then there are so many other priorities to handle, that research was not a priority. Obviously now it is a problem.''