Collapse sparks blitz on canopies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 1995, 12:00am

BUILDINGS Department engineers have launched a blitz on dangerous and illegal canopies around Yan Oi Court, Kwun Tong, following a fatal collapse.

'Those we consider dangerous will be removed immediately . . . Owners of those illegal structures we don't think are at risk will be served with notices to remove them,' said senior structural engineer Robert Gartan.

Workmen are removing canopies either side of the collapsed section which crushed construction worker, Yeung Ki-yee, 38, to death and injured two other people on Wednesday.

A preliminary investigation confirmed the 10-metre-long canopy was an illegal steel frame and corrugated tin sheet structure fixed to the edge of an authorised concrete canopy.

There may also have been a concrete screed on top of the metal sheeting which would have increased the weight of the structure.

The building dates from the mid-1960s. But the Buildings Department does not know yet when the extension was added or by whom.

Mr Gartan revealed officials had received complaints about the state of the building, but these did not specifically relate to dangerous canopies.

'We are still checking our files, but we don't think we've visited the building previously,' he said.

Specialist said shoddy construction, corrosion and a lack of maintenance were probably to blame for the Kwun Tong collapse.

Yeung was killed on his way home from a Tseung Kwan O construction site where he had finished his first day's work.

His brother, Yeung Kwong, said yesterday he was worried he could not afford the funeral. He was concerned about Yeung's wife and five children in China.

Three of his children were born in Hong Kong, but his wife was repatriated as an illegal immigrant about 10 days ago.

Mr Yeung was unsure which government departments could offer compensation or help, but mainland relatives were helping his sister-in-law and children apply for two-way permits to Hong Kong.

The family of a woman crushed to death when a slab of concrete fell on to a bus in San Po Kong last week is expecting compensation from the developer of the site. Legislator Chan Yuen-han said the company had agreed to pay funeral expenses and relief money to the family of Leung Wai-yee, 51.

The widow of the van driver killed by a falling boulder on the Tuen Mun Highway in August will sue the Government and a contractor unless compensation is pledged over the next two weeks.