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Golden Week

Quarter of a million people turn out for Hong Kong National Day fireworks

City residents line both sides of Victoria Harbour for HK$13 million spectacular

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 11:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 October, 2017, 6:53pm

Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong National Day revellers gathered on both sides of the harbour to watch as spectacular fireworks filled the sky on Sunday night.

The show kicked off at 9pm over Victoria Harbour, despite clouds affecting visibility, with eight movements over 23 minutes.

Police said more than 250,000 people lined the Kowloon waterfront and more than 26,000 were on the island side.

A total of 31,888 pyrotechnic shells from four barges were fired into the sky during the HK$13 million display, fewer than the 39,888 launched on July 1 – for the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule – but HK$1 million more expensive.

The last show with such a big budget was for the handover in 1997.

One of the highlights of Sunday night’s show was a 3D heart that organisers said represented the “solidarity of citizens in building a better Hong Kong”.

Sunday also marked the fifth anniversary of the Lamma ferry disaster, in which 39 people, including eight children, died. Hongkong Electric had chartered a boat to take its staff out to see the National Day fireworks, and it collided with a ferry off Lamma Island.

National Day protest in Hong Kong draws 40,000 to streets, organisers claim

Victims’ families are still waiting for closure, as criminal proceedings continue.

On Sunday, Transport and Housing Secretary Frank Chan Fan said he understood the pain families were going through and said he was willing to meet them.

“I understand this was a painful experience,” he said, adding that he hoped they could put their grief behind them.

“If they need, I am willing to sit down with them and listen to their suggestions or requests.”

He said he would have to assess the situation further before deciding whether to fully disclose an investigation report, as lawmakers and victim’s families have demanded.

The National Day fireworks were cancelled in 2013 due to the disaster a year earlier. They were cancelled again in 2014 because of the pro-democracy Occupy protests.

The fireworks meant traffic disruption for some.

Roads were closed from about 7.30pm in Wan Chai, Central, The Peak and a section of the Island Eastern Corridor westbound, as well as in Tsim Sha Tsui and Jordan in Kowloon.