'We felt dizzy, water in the fish tank moved'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2006, 12:00am

Hong Kong residents, unaccustomed to earthquakes, last night were rattled by the city's second in three months.

Wong Wing-tak, a senior scientific officer at the Observatory, said two tremors, each lasting for a few seconds, were felt two minutes after a powerful quake shook the seabed off Taiwan.

A resident of Jubilee Garden in Sha Tin, who gave his name only as Mr Kwan, said he felt a swaying rather than a shaking sensation in his 18th floor home.

'It swayed forward and backward for about 10 seconds, though it was not very serious. I experienced an earthquake once in Japan, so I knew at once what it was.'

Mr Kwan said last night's earthquake was much stronger and longer than the one that struck the city on September 14.

'I was a bit scared ... I was prepared to run downstairs if it lasted longer,' he said.

Danny Ma, who lives in Charming Garden in Mong Kok West, said he felt the building shake.

'My wife and I were feeling a bit dizzy. The water in the fish tank was moving up and down. The amplifiers were shaking,' Mr Ma said. 'We were scared. We thought the building might collapse. That went on for about two to three minutes. It stopped for a few minutes and then started shaking again, this time for about a minute.'

Fiona Tsang was surfing the internet in western Mid-Levels when she noticed her computer desk shaking and her wind chimes moving.

On The Peak, Alexandre Loisy, who is holidaying in Hong Kong, said: 'I felt like I was in a boat.'

Despite residents' impressions that the shaking was stronger than during the 3.5-magnitude quake off Dangan Island on September 14, Mr Wong said this was not so. Although last night's quake was bigger, its epicentre was further away.

He also dismissed suggestions that it was abnormal for two earthquakes to be felt in one year, saying the city recorded an average of two a year, although they might not be noticed by everyone.

The Observatory received more than 20 calls and police were called to help a wheelchair-bound man leave his flat.