The death of legislator Stephen Cheong has brought a panic reaction from many of Hongkong's stressed workers. HUNDREDS of stressed Hongkong business people - including some prominent figures - have rushed to their doctors for heart check-ups after the premature death of legislator Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen. Cheong's death had caused ''mass hysteria'' among top businessmen and women in the territory, a leading doctor said. New figures indicate the number of deaths in Hongkong caused by heart attacks has tripled in the past 10 years. One doctor said he saw almost 20 patients the day after Cheong's fatal attack, and others agree the legislator's collapse sparked panic in the business community. Dr Lau Chu-pak, senior lecturer in cardiology at the department of medicine of Queen Mary Hospital, said people had become more concerned since Cheong's death. ''They become worried about the slightest chest discomfort and are afraid they might die suddenly as well. ''Since then, I have had more patients, both male and female. People have been taking more care, and I get the same impression from cardiologist colleagues as well,'' Dr Lau said. But Dr Lau said there was a habit for many patients with high blood pressure to stop taking medication because they did not feel the symptoms. Cardiologist Dr Archie Lo Ying-sui said there had definitely been an increase in patients. ''People are scared and I have seen a great many people over the past two weeks,'' he said. While many doctors recommend a stress test, Dr Lo said the testing could not give an unequivocal diagnosis of the problem. ''Some people have specific muscular aches and arm and shoulder discomfort and become immediately concerned,'' he said. Another doctor said he saw almost 20 people the day after Cheong collapsed. ''It has been a panic situation as a result of the drama, and, yes, there is a little bit of mass hysteria. Some well-known people are going for medical check-ups,'' he said. According to Dr Donald Li Kwok-tung, chairman of the public education committee of the Hongkong College of General Practitioners, the ''panic'' is a good opportunity for the public to be educated about the dangers of heart disease. ''There are many factors that influence whether a patient will have a heart attack or not, but they must understand that just by going to a doctor and having an ECG [electro-cardiogram] or consultation, they should not go away with a false sense of security.'' Dr Li said the most important lesson was to get information from their doctors about prevention. ''If there are symptoms that suggest heart problems or they have factors that would make them more susceptible to heart disease they should see their doctor regularly to monitor themselves. ''They must not assume all is well and walk away because a normal ECG today could be a big problem tomorrow.''