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Typhoon Mangkhut

Chainsaws flying off shop shelves in Hong Kong as clean-up after Typhoon Mangkhut devastation continues

Mangkhut left thousands of fallen trees in its wake after pummelling city on Sunday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:58pm

Last week it was masking tape, this week it’s chainsaws.

Hardware shops in Hong Kong were doing a roaring trade in chainsaws after the city was battered by Typhoon Mangkhut on Sunday. Also selling well were handsaws, ropes, boards of wood – and tape residue remover.

Lam Lin-ki, who runs a metalware and machine tool shop in Wan Chai, said she sold about 30 chainsaws, both petrol and electric models, between Monday and Wednesday.

“I haven’t seen a situation like it before,” Lam said. “Usually I just sell about 10 a year.”

An electric chainsaw sells for about HK$1,400 (US$180) to HK$1,500 in her shop, while a petrol model goes for up to HK$2,500.

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Mangkhut, which prompted the Hong Kong Observatory to issue its highest typhoon warning for 10 hours on Sunday, left in its wake thousands of fallen trees, hundreds of wrecked boats, and more than 1,000 sections of road blocked.

Before the storm landed, many homeware shops across the city ran out of masking tape as residents covered their windows for protection.

Lam said those buying chainsaws were mostly people managing residential estates and companies providing arboricultural services.

The manager of a metal decoration material company in Sheung Shui, a district in the northern New Territories badly affected by fallen trees, said saw sales rose 200 to 300 per cent after the storm.

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The company’s stocks of petrol and electric chainsaws had sold out, leaving only hand saws.

In Tai Po, a hardware shop employee surnamed Chan said sales of hand saws, which cost HK$85 each, had risen.

“Before the typhoon, we sold about one a week,” he said. “We’ve sold several already.”

Chan said customers bought them to cut trees. He said rope sales had also doubled after the storm.

“People use it to tie up loose items,” Chan said.

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Other popular items in Chan’s shop included tape residue remover. His colleague Kazaf Cheung said they sold about four to five bottles a day, compared with one every one to two weeks.

A building materials shop in Tai Po saw a 25 per cent increase in sales of boards of wood.

“Customers are buying boards for repair work,” employee Law Yuk-hung said. “People might not be able to fix broken windows quickly, so they use those boards for cover.”

Additional reporting by Danny Mok