The security gate at the entrance to a government hostel that crushed a cleaner to death last year had come off its hinges three times before, a workman told an inquest. The inquest into the death of Chinese-Indonesian Mabel Lim Tjhung Bwee, 41, opened yesterday. The accident happened when Lim was entering Hang Ngai Manufacturing and Hostel in Hung Ling Street, Hung Hom, at 7.20am on May 5 last year. Kwok Man-ki, who has worked at the hostel for the mentally handicapped since November 1993, said in a witness statement that he had seen the gate breaking off its upper hinges three times. Coroner's officer Lily Ho May-yu, who read out the statement, said that the gate almost fell on top of Kwok two years ago. The gate has a narrow part and a wide part. Kwok pushed the narrower part of the gate when he was entering the building but the wider part came off its hinges, fell towards the street and became slanted on top of a metal fence. He was not hurt. After each of the three incidents, Kwok had blocked off the entrance and asked people arriving at the hostel to use the fire escape instead. He told his supervisor who then called the Architectural Services Department to fix it. Kwok Moon-kwong, a resident at Caritas Hung Hom Hostel, also in Hung Ling Street, witnessed the fatal accident. He said in a statement he greeted the cleaner moments earlier. 'When I was leaving the hostel, [I saw] the entrance gate falling towards the woman. I saw her trying to push the gate away but she was unsuccessful. The gate fell on top of a barricade,' he said. He heard a loud bang when the gate hit the metal fence. The deceased had her back to him and the gate hit the back of her head. Kwok said a woman who looked like a hostel staff member came out but appeared scared and went back in again. He did not know the victim but he recognised her. Another cleaner at the Hang Ngai Hostel, Lee Kam, said in a statement that she was halfway through cleaning a toilet when she heard someone calling from the entrance. She went to answer the door and saw the woman trying to stop the gate from crushing her. 'She continued to push [the gate up] but she did not have enough strength ... her head was bleeding and her mouth was moving. I called [the deceased's name] but she didn't answer,' Lee said. She went to find a social worker to call an ambulance. Lim's widower, Lau Chi-keung, said he received a call at 8.20am that his wife had been admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 8.50am. She left three daughters and a son, aged between seven and 22. The inquest continues today before Coroner William Ng Sing-wai.