Hong Kong flood aftermath: police confirm identity of remains found near island as missing man, hours after discovery of another body
- Police recover body of man reported missing after being washed away by floods amid record-breaking rainfall that struck city two nights ago
- Discovery comes hours after drainage workers find body of another man, thought to be in his 50s, while working on channel
Hong Kong police have recovered the body of a man who was reported missing after being washed away by floods amid a record-breaking rainstorm that struck the city.
The man’s death was confirmed on Saturday as authorities deployed some 250 civil servants under a government mechanism to bolster disaster relief efforts.
The force said the victim’s remains were discovered in waters 800 metres (2,624 feet) east of Tang Chau island at 9am. Officers subsequently confirmed the body belonged to the man reported missing a day earlier when the downpour hit Sha Tin.
Divers from the Fire Services Department searched along the Kau To Hang river on Friday afternoon after receiving a report the victim was swept away by floods outside a house near Hung Kiu Lane soon after 1am.
Police said authorities would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Hong Kong experienced its worst rainstorm in more than a century that started late night Thursday and carried on into Friday, triggering flash flooding that cut off roads and neighbourhoods across the city.
More than 140 people were also sent to hospital as a result of the weather event.
In the wake of the flooding, drainage workers in Yuen Long discovered the body of another man while clearing a river near Tsing Lung Tsuen in San Tin on Saturday morning
Police said the man discovered by Drainage Services Department staff was thought to be in his 50s and was certified dead at the scene.
The case has been classified as a drowning but it remains unclear if it was caused by massive rainfall on Thursday night.
The Hong Kong government on Saturday activated its disaster relief mechanism to deploy about 250 civil servants to areas hit hard by the torrential downpour.
Those mobilised included staff from the Department of Justice and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The mechanism was first used last week in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Saola’s passage, with this Saturday marking the second such occasion.
But lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen compared the response with resources mustered ahead of Super Typhoon Saola and said weather prediction capabilities and information distribution this time around had failed to reach the same standard.
The false sense of security resulting from the response had led residents to misjudge the situation and could have caused accidents, he said.
Amid the relief effort, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu visited Fanling as government employees helped to clear roads obstructed by fallen tree branches.
He also surveyed the situation at Shek O after the village was cut off from the rest of Hong Kong Island when its main road was blocked by landslides.
Lee predicted the road would be open to light vehicles by 9pm. Some 200 village residents had been evacuated by boat with the help of authorities, as well as supplies delivered to those still in Shek O, he added.
“My civil servant colleagues will also provide residents with all the assistance they require, so they can return to their normal lives as soon as possible,” he wrote on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Secretary for the Civil Service Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan defended the time taken by authorities to mobilise manpower for the relief efforts and said it had not been possible to deploy government employees at the height of the weather event.
The minister said she hoped residents could resume work and school as normal on Monday if conditions permitted.
Secretary for Development Bernadette Linn Hon-ho said the Drainage Services Department had resolved all confirmed 60 cases of flooding as of 8am on Saturday.
She added that the Civil Engineering and Development Department had received 60 reports of landslides as of noon, with inspections of 35 relatively serious cases already complete.
Bus services along all but six routes resumed on the same day.
The MTR Corporation was forced to suspend trains along the Kwun Tong line earlier in the morning due to a power supply fault during a first attempt to get services up and running following the rainstorm.
Wong Tai Sin station reopened and rail services on the line resumed in the afternoon after a four-hour disruption.