Game-player found dead in cyber-cafe

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 12:00am

A 28-year-old computer-game enthusiast died early yesterday after apparently playing the game Diablo II - the same game which a 17-year-old youth was playing before he collapsed and died last year.

Ng Man-fai was found bent over a table in a cyber-cafe on Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long, just after 1.10am by a police officer who was searching for a boy who had been reported missing by his parents.

The officer tried to wake Ng, but there was no response, a police spokesman said.

He was certified dead in Tuen Mun Hospital.

Police said Ng started playing the online game Diablo II just after 7pm on Friday and was last seen alive when he went to the toilet about midnight.

An autopsy will be carried out to determine the cause of death.

On May 29 last year, Lai Pui-sun, an employee of a cyber-cafe in Tuen Mun, was found slumped over a table at the premises. An ambulance was called but he was declared dead in hospital. Lai was playing Diablo II for hours before he collapsed.

Police were told Ng had been in good health and did not have a drug habit.

Dr Choi Kin, president of the Practising Estate Doctors Association, said he suspected the flashing light from the computer screen might have caused the sudden deaths of both Ng and Lai.

He said long-term exposure to flashing lights was dangerous, and recommended that computer-game enthusiasts allow their eyes to rest for several minutes every hour.

Ng's death has renewed calls for cyber-cafe operators to pay more attention to computer-game addicts.

The Hong Kong Association of Cyber Media issued a notice to its 60 member cafes following Lai's death. A representative said last night that a similar notice would be sent to establishments again.

She advised employees to try to persuade their clients to take a break after spending more than two hours playing games since the flashing lights could be exhausting.