Daredevil climbs Hong Kong's Ferris wheel, putting security in spotlight

Daredevil publicises pictures of unauthorised preview of attraction

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 6:40pm

Security at Hong Kong's new harbourfront Ferris wheel came into question within 24 hours of its opening when a daredevil climber yesterday posted pictures of himself on the structure.

The long-awaited attraction, formally known as the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, finally opened on Friday, and has received acclaim for its dramatic views.

But a photograph that was sent to the Sunday Morning Post yesterday showed two climbers getting a sneak preview in September by clambering up the 60-metre wheel.

The picture shows photographer Keow Wee Loong - a veteran of several daredevil climbs - barefoot in a black bandana perched on one of the metal spokes of the wheel. "It was indeed an amazing ride," Loong said in a message to the Post.

Three further images posted to Loong's Facebook page yesterday morning showed a woman named only as Airin, who climbed with Loong, balanced on the structure.

"We always climb without harnesses, it was not difficult," said Airin, a Hongkonger.

She said the climb was made in September when Loong was last in the city, but declined to comment on security at the site. Airin said Loong could not be reached for further comment.

Timothy Peirson-Smith, spokesman for operator Swiss AEX, said 24-hour security had been in place during construction, and remained in place.

A police spokesman said security at the attraction was the responsibility of the operator.

The wheel has long been controversial. The contract to operate the attraction was awarded more than a year ago, but the wheel was slow to appear, leading to complaints from rival bidders that the wrong operator was chosen.

Loong, a Malaysian photographer, has scaled other buildings in Hong Kong. An image from September shows him barefoot and wearing a black bandana across his face as he unfurls a Malaysian flag atop a tower in Sheung Wan.

Hong Kong's myriad skyscrapers have become a magnet for overseas explorers.

A group calling themselves the Crazy Russians climbed the city's fifth-tallest building, the 346-metre The Centre in Central, in August.

The Crazy Russians post videos of the conquests online and sell sponsorship of their clips to fund their travels.