People leave their homes, Observatory flooded with calls as tremor is widely felt An earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale struck Hong Kong last night, with the tremor felt across the city and as far away as Shenzhen and Macau. There were no reports of injuries or casualties, police said. But a brief loss of power was reported at a location in Central. On outlying islands, many residents took to the streets after their homes were rattled. The quake struck at 7.53pm and was centred in waters around the Dangan Islands, about 36km south-southeast of Hong Kong, the Observatory said. That area was identified as a potential source of quakes of up to 7.5 magnitude in a 2004 report by the Observatory and Beijing's China Earthquake Administration. Since 1979, there have been an average of two quakes a year in Hong Kong strong enough to be felt by people, according to Observatory figures. However, last night's quake was the first since 2004. Although it was relatively mild, the epicentre's proximity to Hong Kong made it one of the most widely felt quakes, prompting a flood of calls to radio stations and the Observatory. Michael Simms, a Hong Kong resident who was holidaying in Buji district, Shenzhen, said he was surprised by the shaking in his building. 'I heard a loud bang and felt one quick shock,' he said. A Cheung Chau islander said: 'We all felt the shake and everyone ran out of their houses in our street, whether out of fear or excitement, I don't know.' An Indonesian domestic helper named Yubi said she felt the sudden movement while she was working in the kitchen in her employer's Mid-Levels flat. 'It was like that in Indonesia where we often felt tremors,' she said. 'I didn't think this would happen here. I thought Hong Kong had no earthquakes.' Chan Lung-sang from the University of Hong Kong's Department of Earth Sciences said the city was located in an active seismic belt. 'It is not very strange that there is a quake in Hong Kong,' he said, adding that last night's tremor was a minor one. 'The effect on building safety is very low.' The 2004 report said the Dangan Islands area was under the influence of the Haifeng Fault Zone and might be linked to shallow earthquakes reported in this area. 'Dangan Islands is definitely a potential seismic source that is capable of generating large earthquakes affecting Hong Kong,' it said. Observatory senior scientific officer Wong Wing-tak said small-scale local tremors could usually be felt in Hong Kong once or twice a year. But they were usually felt in a few areas such as eastern Lantau, rather than across Hong Kong, as happened last night. 'Of course, I felt the tremor too, but it was a localised seismic activity. It was not the kind of dangerous tremors caused by the movements or collision of tectonic plates.' The strongest earthquake to strike Hong Kong was on February 13, 1918, measuring 8 on the Richter scale. Damage in the city was light but 1,000 people were killed in Shantou, Guangdong. The second-strongest quake, on September 16, 1994, measured 6.5, 50 times less strong than the 1918 one, rattling the city for 30 seconds. A government spokesman said an emergency response team was in place to deal with natural disasters, but there was no need to activate it last night.