All Hongkongers missing after Sichuan quake found
Tour companies cancel trips to popular mainland destination
All Hongkongers who went missing in the aftermath of a magnitude 7 earthquake in Sichuan have been found.
The quake, which took place in the southwestern Chinese province on Tuesday night, has claimed 13 lives and injured 164 people, according to the local prefecture government.
The epicentre of the quake was near Jiuzhaigou National Park, which said it had 38,799 visitors on Tuesday. More than 31,500 tourists in the region had been moved to safe locations, said the government of Aba Prefecture, where the park is located.
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, expressed concern over the Sichuan earthquake and offered his deep sympathy to victims and their families.
Cheung said on Wednesday that the government would closely monitor the situation of Hong Kong residents in affected areas and provide all practicable assistance to them.
Hong Kong’s immigration department said on Wednesday morning that as of 10am, it had received requests for assistance or inquiries from 39 Hongkongers or their families, all of whom have since been confirmed safe. Two were earlier unreachable on Wednesday, but both were later contacted.
A staff member at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Chengdu said it had not received any requests for assistance from Hongkongers.
Travel agencies Wing On Travel, Sunflower Travel and Hong Thai Travel Services said they had 78 people on tour in Sichuan, with all confirmed safe.
Hong Thai Travel said in a statement that it would cancel seven Hong Kong tour groups scheduled to depart for the Sichuan tourist attraction before August 20. About 150 people are affected.
General manager Jason Wong Chun-tat said two tour groups of about 40 people are currently in Sichuan province. They had already completed the itinerary to Jiuzhaigou when the earthquake happened.
Johnny So, general manager at Sunflower Travel Service, said a group of 21 Hong Kong tourists were staying at the Sheraton Resort in Jiuzhaigou. All of them had successfully retreated to outdoor spaces during the earthquake. They will be heading to Chengdu by bus on Wednesday.
So said the company will cancel three tours for about 50 people scheduled for before August 25.
A spokeswoman at Wing On Travel said a group of 19 Hong Kong visitors were at Jiuzhaigou when the earthquake happened. They all have been confirmed safe and are currently in the safe zone at InterContinental Resort Jiuzhai Paradise.
The agency will cancel eight tours scheduled to depart before August 18. About 120 visitors are affected.
Jiuzhaigou is one of the most popular mainland attractions among Hong Kong tourists during the summer thanks to its cool climate. Major Hong Kong travel agencies such as Wing On send tours there every week. Hong Thai Travel sends more than 1,000 Hong Kong tourists to Jiuzhaigou every year.
A separate earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck China’s Xinjiang region on Wednesday morning. No causalities were reported by the authorities.
So from Sunflower Travel Service said the firm has two Hong Kong tours of the region scheduled to depart on Friday, including one group of 10 people to the earthquake zone near popular tourist district Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. He said the agency is evaluating the situation with local officials to decide whether to cancel the tours.
Hong Kong’s immigration department said that as of 1pm on Wednesday, it had not received any request for assistance from Hongkongers regarding the Xinjiang earthquake.