THE chemicals spill at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology yesterday was the second in less than a year. In April, Richard Leung Wai-cheuk, 25, died after unwittingly walking into a laboratory contaminated with spilled chemicals to wash his irritated eyes. He had not been warned to keep clear of the lab where research assistant Xia Haiping, a visiting scholar, had accidentally spilled acryloyl chloride and methacrylic anhydride. Xia had rushed out of the lab when he became overcome by fumes. A supervising professor told the inquiry team he had no time to warn the students of the accident. The delay in alerting security about the spill was too long, the inquiry found. It took almost 25 minutes before an order was given to evacuate the floor, and another 36 minutes before Leung and another student were sent to hospital. The victim was admitted to United Christian Hospital early on April 5. He died that evening. Leung had suffered an adverse reaction to the fumes but had not had significant exposure. The inquiry refused to address the issue of responsibility. The university also came under fire from the Leung family, who said they only learned of the accident's details from newspapers.