Six people were injured yesterday when a gas explosion blew out the windows and air conditioner of a third-storey Yuen Long apartment, spraying shards of glass across passers-by.
It is believed that three children aged 11 to 15, who were left alone in the Kuen Yick Building flat, set off the blast as they tried to cook using a gas lighter over a liquefied petroleum gas cylinder.
The youngest of the children, who included two brothers and a friend, sustained face injuries and was taken to hospital.
Five people on the street below were injured, although only four were taken to Pok Oi Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital
The mother of the two brothers was arrested on suspicion of child neglect.
It was believed that when the children attempted to light the range, the cylinder ran out of gas.
As the older brother went for another cylinder, the two younger children played with the remaining equipment and set off the explosion.
Passers-by said they heard a loud bang but saw no fire. "Everyone squatted down," said one witness. He said he saw a boy peering from the window.
The falling glass and debris sent pedestrians running for safety, many of whom had heads and hands cut by glass.
"Someone was shielding a baby in a pram [from the falling glass] and was hurt," a woman who witnessed the blast said.
Others had knees injured when they fell to the ground, which was covered with shattered glass.
Part of Chun Yin Square, where stalls operate beneath canopies, was condoned off during police investigations.
The boss of a café in the vicinity said fewer people were injured than might have been, because the canopies offered protection from the glass.