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West Kowloon Cultural District

Police investigate after man dies at Road to Ultra electronic music festival in Hong Kong

Three others, all in their 20s, in critical condition after collapsing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 September, 2017, 11:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 11:57am

Police are investigating whether drugs were involved in the death of a man, 27, and the collapse of three others at the Hong Kong stop of electronic music festival Road to Ultra in West Kowloon.

The deceased, human resources consultant Chow Wai-ho, fainted at about 9pm on Saturday and was pronounced dead in hospital about an hour later.

A spokesman for the cultural district authority said they understood that the four had been sent to hospital because they suffered from heatstroke.

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“It is very sad and unfortunate that one of them has passed away and we would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” the spokesman said.

He said the organisers of the festival had about 100 security guards to control the crowd flow and check people’s bags at the entrance to the event, and that there were three first aid booths on site with qualified staff.

“In view of the weather and the heat, the organisers issued reminders that free water refills were available and encouraged participants to take advantage of these arrangements,” he said.

A police source said officers found a red pill and part of a blue one at the venue, but that the cause of death would need to be confirmed by an autopsy.

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The three who collapsed – a 21-year-old woman and two men, aged 22 and 29 ­– fell at different times during the festival. They were at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in critical condition.

The source said officers were investigating a number of factors, such as whether the four had overdosed on drugs, what their medical backgrounds were and whether they may have suffered from heatstroke.

Officers said the four Hongkongers were not found to be carrying any illegal drugs, according to the source.

The source added that officers were investigating whether dealers sold illegal drugs at the venue.

The festival took place from noon to 10pm on Saturday at Nursery Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District. It was only open to people aged 18 or older.

According to police, Chow went to the festival with a 36-year-old male friend in the afternoon.

Initial investigations showed that the four did not know each other and had gone to the venue separately.

A cleaner at the venue said she saw a woman fainting between 3pm and 4pm, which could have been the woman who was later in critical condition.

“She came very early and may have had heatstroke,” the cleaner said. “She didn’t dance very hard, but it was very hot and scorching, she and a man [with her] had to sit down.”

There was no shade at the venue and the Observatory recorded a high of 33.5 degrees Celsius in Tsim Sha Tsui – which is close to the cultural district – on Saturday.

A Road to Ultra Hong Kong spokesman said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr Chow at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday. We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of Mr Chow, and our thoughts remain with the families of those involved. While the official cause of Mr Chow’s death is not yet known, we have every confidence in the Hong Kong law enforcement authority leading this inquiry.”

Road to Ultra debuted in Seoul in 2012, and was in Hong Kong for its second year.