Heated debate online over the Hong Kong ferry tragedy
Hongkongers went online to find an outlet for their grief and anger, with many expressing deep condolences to the victims and also demanding an inquiry into how it all happened.
"It's too shocking. I hope the victims can rest in peace and the injured get well soon," web user "Cloudrider Yan" wrote on a Facebook page established to commemorate the victims.
The group was set up at 5am yesterday. By 8pm it had attracted 3,860 members. Group members planned to stage a minute's silence at 8.30pm to send their blessings to those who died.
The incident sparked heated online discussion on why the crew of the Sea Smooth did not stop after colliding with the Lamma IV, the fact that a list of victims had not yet emerged and how passengers caught in a similar situation could help themselves.
"How come there isn't any list of names of the people on the boat yet? My husband worked at Hongkong Electric. After learning about the incident, he couldn't sleep and spent the whole night watching on television. He used to take that boat to go to work every day and worked with the colleagues on the boat for more than two decades. We are saddened," Fung Yee-ping wrote on Facebook.
Some called for the cancellation of next year's National Day fireworks, the event the victims had been sailing to watch, although Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the decision would be down to the organisers. The event is co-ordinated by the Home Affairs Bureau.
The Social Welfare Department assigned more than 70 social workers and clinical psychologists to help survivors and victims' families. It has set up a hotline on 2343 2255 and will help, on a case-by-case basis, in arranging burial services, medical care, rehabilitation and long-term welfare services.
The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Emergency Relief Fund and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust have approached the department, which will help the affected households cope with financial difficulties brought on by the loss of a loved on.
The Li Ka Shing Foundation will release HK$30 million to help victims' families while Hongkong Electric will give HK$200,000 to each family of the deceased for emergency use.
Fung Heung-man, chairman of the Power Assets Holdings Employees Union, which represents Hongkong Electric staff, said it had been contacting members to identify who had been on the boat and asking the victims' families if they needed help. The Post Crisis Counselling Network has set up a hotline at 5181-5501 and the Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre offers counselling at 18288 or 3161-2930. The Labour Party opened a hotline at 2586-1212.
We at the company are truly saddened. We are also victims. They [the deceased and the injured] are our people.
Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, executive director of Power Assets
Definitely I am upset. I left Hong Kong last night, but after knowing about it [the accident] this morning, I dropped everything and rushed back. There is no need to ask about my feelings. Everyone should be saddened.
Li Ka-shing, chairman of Hutchison Whampoa
From the investigation so far, we have come to the suspicion that the crew responsible for manning the two vessels did not exercise the care required by them by law to ensure the safety of the vessels they were navigating as well as the people on board.
Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung