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Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

At least five Hong Kong hotels have failed to comply with inspection orders, Post finds, after woman killed by falling window in Tsim Sha Tsui

  • The Park Lane, King’s Hotel and V Hotel and Serviced Apartments in Causeway Bay, and the Guangdong Hotel and a Marco Polo hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui found to have not carried out instructions issued as far back as 2013
  • Research of official data found at least 42 hotels – of about 280 citywide – had received Buildings Department window inspection orders
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 7:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 10:45am

At least five hotels in the heart of Hong Kong’s business and tourist districts have failed to comply with government orders to have their windows inspected the Post has found after a pedestrian was killed by a window frame that came crashing down from a five-star hotel on Monday.

According to Buildings Department records, The Park Lane, King’s Hotel and V Hotel and Serviced Apartments in Causeway Bay, and the Guangdong Hotel and a Marco Polo hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui have not carried out instructions issued as far back as 2013.

“Now we can see there is the underlying risk of hotel windows falling off,” said Joseph Ho Hin-ming, an adviser to the department on its mandatory window inspection scheme, amid concerns officials have been lax in ensuring compliance and improving safety.

Only two of the five hotels – Guangdong and V – were requested to inspect guest room windows, while others were only required to check those in common areas.

A 24-year-old mainland Chinese woman was killed in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui after she was struck by a window that fell from The Mira Hong Kong hotel’s 16th floor on Monday.

Post research of official data found at least 42 hotels – of about 280 citywide – had received the department’s window inspection orders, of which five had not complied.

The Park Lane received an order in December 2014 for its common areas. A spokeswoman said the hotel had been undergoing renovation since that year and a window inspection consultant had been appointed.

“The last stage of the renovation will be completed in a couple of months,” she said.

Why is window inspection important and how can falls be prevented?

Guangdong Hotel, now known as GDH hotel, had outstanding orders issued in October 2013 for its common areas, on the 13th and 15th floors. A member of staff said the hotel would not comment on the issue.

V had outstanding orders issued in September 2016 for its common areas and the ground floor, but had complied with orders for its rooms. A spokesman said the hotel only owned the fourth to the ninth floors, while other areas belonged to different owners. He said the building’s owners’ incorporation was in charge of the common area.

In Tsim Sha Tsui, windows at the podium, from ground to fourth floor, connecting a Marco Polo hotel and adjacent commercial buildings on 7-23 Canton Road were also yet to be inspected.

There are two Marco Polo hotels – Gateway and Prince – at the address. Another notice says a Marco Polo hotel has complied with an inspection order in 2017.

A spokesman for Harbour City, which manages the common area around the Marco Polo hotel, said the company would reply after checking the facts.

King’s, which was based on Jaffe Road, received an order for its common areas in November 2015. It moved from the premises in 2016 but had not rectified before vacating. The hotel, now operating in Yau Ma Tei, did not reply to a request for comment.

Ho, a member of the selection panel for the mandatory window inspection scheme, said hotels particularly needed to comply with the inspection orders because their windows might remain closed for a long time due to air conditioning.

“When you find the windows dirty and want to open them for cleaning, there [is greater risk of falling],” he said.

Opinion: Death of tourist hit by falling window puts focus on public safety

His panel shortlists buildings that need to be served inspection notices based on age, condition and past record of repairs.

Vincent Ho Kui-yip, a former president of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, said hotels were less likely to be selected by the panel for inspection orders than residential buildings, because members might believe most hotels are single-ownership buildings, which are thought to be better managed.