HONG KONG saw in 1995 with street festivities, open-air pop performances and the traditional firing of Jardine's Midnight Gun in Causeway Bay. But the 'Countdown 95' concert in Victoria Park, which attracted about 30,000 people, turned into a son et lumiere display as angry residents complained sound levels exceeded Environmental Protection Department (EPD) limits and an ornamental dragon on the stage caught fire. Meanwhile, nine people were arrested in Lan Kwai Fong for fighting. Imported sound systems worth $6 million failed to prevent the concert from resounding against buildings surrounding the park and residents said the EPD guidelines were breached within 30 minutes of the event starting. Readings taken by the Sunday Morning Post showed the noise topped 80 decibels - well over the limit of 65 set by the EPD for night-time concerts. The measurements were taken by Open Learning Institute lecturer Dr Gordon Maxwell from an eighth floor car park adjoining Park Towers. 'The noise is similar to a 737 landing although it is not as bad as Kowloon noise. It is hanging around the mid-70s, early 80s range,' he said. But residents of nearby Park Towers, in King's Road, were unimpressed by the raucous party outside. The 'Countdown 95' sound system was designed to focus the sound in certain areas - allowing revellers to enjoy the music while minimising noise for residents. But Sunday Morning Post recordings taken between 8.30 pm and 9 pm, as the event got underway, showed the sound had already soared to over 80 decibels. A government spokesman admitted the noise levels exceeded the limit but 'just by a little bit'. . Meanwhile, residents staying around Times Square in Causeway Bay flooded police with complaints about noise from a switch-on ceremony and concert there. At Victoria Park, one of a pair of 4.6-metre tall dragons burst into flames as fireworks flew from their open mouths. Police and security guards rushed to put out the fire with extinguishers. On the waterfront in Causeway Bay, 1995 boomed into life in traditional fashion as Financial Secretary Sir Hamish Macleod's wife, Lady Macleod, fired the midnight gun. Watched by cheering party-goers, her husband and Jardine's managing director Alistair Morrison, Lady Macleod fired the gun at midnight. The Royal Hong Kong Police Force band played Auld Lang Syne. Meanwhile, police arrested nine people in Lan Kwai Fong for fighting. An estimated 6,000 people had crowded into the area by 12.30 am, which was closed to traffic at 10.25 pm. The presence of 200 police reflected the desire to avoid any repetition of the New Year's Eve tragedy of 1992 when 21 people died there in a mass crush.