HONGKONG-born Thomas Hor is familiar with the sight and sound of death. The BBC TV sound recordist, who works with reporter Martin Bell, is a veteran of Beirut and Belfast. ''But Bosnia,'' he said ''is the scariest and it's getting worse.'' Mr Hor has been to the war-torn region nine times - more than many reporters - and each time he has made it back home unscathed, ''so I have had my share of luck,'' he said. ''On my first trip I saw the Croats fire at the Serbs, 100 yards away from us. Before we could retreat the Serbs had lobbed back mortars just 20 yards away. ''When you are filming in a war zone you know to stand by a wall which cuts out 50 per cent of the risk. Stand in a corner and you cut the risk by two-thirds. ''You distinguish different sounds. Shrapnel whizzing by goes 'ping ping'. The first time you hear it you think that nothing will ever happen to you. There is not much fear. Afterwards, when you sit down with a cup of tea the fear sets in. ''Two inches is the nearest that Croatian fire has got to me. The hole the bullet made was two inches from where I was standing. When I first get back to London any 'bang' noise makes me jumpy and I look for a place to hide.'' When back in England at hishome south of London, with his wife and two sons, Mr Hor relaxes by working as a Chinese interpreter for courts, hospitals and the social services, using his Cantonese and ''a little'' Mandarin. ''It's my contribution to the Chinese community. I am Chineseand I always want to return to Hongkong.'' Work in Britain often takes him to Parliament and to Downing Street, where he finds his Chinese face raises a few eyebrows. ''The first time I went to Downing Street I got a look from Mrs Thatcher that was very questioning. Now I get the same look from John Major,'' he said. Life would have been very different if Mr Hor had he joined the family leather and jewellery business. He was educated at St Stephen's College in Stanley before he left for England to complete his 'O' and 'A' level examinations. The little he earned in a Chinese restaurant helped to pay for his schooling. At 18, he won a higher education scholarship. A poster advertising careers in television steered him towards a course in communications engineering. Following his graduation in 1980, Mr Hor returned to Hongkong as an assistant producer on RTHK's Here and Now, and What's On programmes. He moved back to London in 1981 to further his career as a BBC trainee sound engineer, and two years later was transferred to the BBC Film Studios at Ealing. His first taste of tragedy came when he had to cover the mass killing of villagers shot by a rampaging gunman in Hungerford, Berkshire. ''There were bodies everywhere because it was too dangerous to retrieve them while the gunman was still at large. I thought that if that was news, it was quite shocking,'' he said. From there, he graduated to covering the Gorbachev-Reagan Moscow summit, where he recorded an exclusive BBC interview with Boris Yeltsin shortly after Mr Gorbachev sacked him. Then to the ski slopes at Klosters where he had to shadow the Duchess of York. In 1991 he was sent to cover the Gulf War. ''Apart from the Scud missiles, it was a pretty easy war because, generally, we operated behind the front lines,'' said Mr Hor. ''During the Gulf War, the BBC crew wore helmets but no flak jackets. There weren'tenough flak jackets to go around. And, in that war, you knew your enemies and where they were coming from.'' But in Sarajevo, he said the snipers ''are the Croats and Serbs who used to live together so there are no marked areas of each other's territory''. He is still recovering from a recent trip to Sarajevo. ''We were four days on a mountain in minus 20 degrees, with the Land Rover broken down and no food except Army ration biscuits and chocolate. We had no water.'' ''We begged an UN convoy for food and chopped wood from what was available for fires to keep us warm because we were wearing only jackets with our sweaters,'' he said. A British charity truck towed Hor's BBC crew to Sarajevo where the only food available was bread. ''When we go there they can't understand why I bring in my own rice. Being Chinese I must be the only one in Sarajevo to eat rice.'' Mr Hor has recorded the sounds of suffering in prison-of-war camps and has seen the mutilated bodies of old people with their ears and noses cut off. ''During the summer it was all flies and smell. In Croatia, during the winter, we saw legs which had been sawn off and the frozen victims of the Serbs,'' said Mr Hor. He has stood at the edge of the mass graves of the Bosnian Muslims and secretly recorded the ''ethnic cleansing'' of villagers being forced to leave their homes. Mr Hor said he has now grown weary of war and the suffering it causes. He is ready to say goodbye to Bosnia and come to Hongkong for a month's rest with his family. Hongkong is still his home at heart, and he hopes that he can one day settle here far away from the sounds of war.