Police release more images of fire suspects
Ada Lee and Joyce Ng
Two more surveillance camera images of people who were at a popular market street in Mong Kok prior to Wednesday's deadly fire were released yesterday by the police.
The authorities are urging these people to come forward. Members of the public with information about these people or the case are urged to contact the police.
Wednesday's fire in Fa Yuen Street - the city's deadliest in 15 years - had spread from the market stalls to nearby tenement buildings, killing nine people and injuring 34 others.
An 82-year-old female hawker, who was captured on surveillance camera at the market shortly before the fire broke out, has been found. Police believe she was not connected to the fire after an investigation. She is one of the two people in two surveillance camera images police released on Thursday. The other person, a man, has yet to be found.
The identity of a deceased victim has also yet to be confirmed, police say. The West Kowloon regional crime unit is investigating.
The government yesterday assigned temporary housing to 118 people made homeless by the blaze.
The victims, from 59 households, will be allowed to stay in the public rental estate in Shek Lei, Kwai Chung district, for three months.
They left a community centre in Yau Ma Tei yesterday and were transported to their temporary homes with the help of Home Affairs Department officials. One of those relocated said she was grateful for the shelter. 'I want to move to public rental housing. There's no take two in life. I don't want to go back to those terrible days [in Fa Yuen Street] again.'
Separately, the affected stall owners urged the government to give them a two-month grace period for them to restructure their stalls to fit their licence requirements.
Brenda Cheng So-ngor, chairwoman of the Federation of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Hawker Associations, said: 'Christmas is coming and then the Lunar New Year is next. We hope to continue our business while fixing the stalls ... it's not good that officials come every day and give summons.'
She said many of the 200 or so stall owners would need time to get workmen to lower their stalls to the 2.5-metre limit. One stall owner said moving their trolleys to nearby flats would also be difficult because they were too big to fit into a lift.
The government has yet to decide on a solution to improve the safety issues related to the market stalls.
WE WANT TO HELP
Many of the families who lost loved ones in the Fa Yuen Street fire were poor. Many of those injured will struggle to pay for their rehabilitation. The smoke has yet to clear on the extent of the personal devastation. The SCMP Heart of Hong Kong Relief Fund is appealing for donations to help those affected. Please give generously to bring help to the fire victims.
By cheque payable to 'SCMP Charities Ltd'. Please write 'Mong Kok fire' on the back of the cheque.
By direct transfer: HSBC 502-676588-001. Please add a transfer note of 'Mong Kok fire'.