30th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a devastating industrial accident at the West Kowloon construction site on Sunday (24th), two male workers are believed to have tragically lost their lives due to suspected hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Law enforcement authorities had previously arrested both the sub-contractor and the main contractor’s project manager involved in the incident. Subsequently, the two individuals were separately charged with one count of manslaughter. The project manager appeared before the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts this morning (30th September). The accused did not need to enter a plea, and the prosecution applied for an adjournment of the court mention to 27th December at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts, to allow for further investigation. Ultimately, the judge approved the postponement, and although the defence applied for bail on behalf of the accused, it was rejected, resulting in the accused being remanded in custody. The accused will have a bail review at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on 5th October.
The accused, Yip Lai-pan (40 years old), identified himself as a company manager. He is charged with one count of manslaughter, alleging that between 23rd and 24th September, 2023, he unlawfully caused the deaths of Lau Ho-cheung and Kwok Fo-kei at the West Kowloon Elements construction site, including the performing arts theatre and the extended section L2 in the basement. The accused, a slender man wearing a short-sleeved shirt, indicated understanding after hearing the details of the charges. It is reported that the accused’s company was hired by the MTR Corporation for the project at the location, and the subcontract was assigned to Shum Yuk-kuen’s company, which carried out the construction work with Shun’s employees. Upon learning that these employees had worked at the site on that day, the accused had also visited the site for inspection.
According to information, law enforcement officers received a report from the sub-contractor, Shum Yuk-kuen, at around 7am on the day of the incident, stating that two male workers, Lau Ho-cheung (63 years old) and Kwok Fo-kei (61 years old), had collapsed while working in the underground pipeline at the site. Rescue personnel rushed to the scene, and the two men were found unconscious when rescued by the fire department. They were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment but were pronounced dead at 8.47am and 8.52 am respectively on the same day. Following the investigation, Shum was arrested on Wednesday (27th) for allegedly disregarding the safety and health of employees, in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance. After further investigation, Shen was arrested again on Thursday (28th) on suspicion of manslaughter. On the same day, the project manager, Yip Lai-pan, was also arrested in Sha Tin on suspicion of manslaughter. Shen appeared in the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts yesterday (29th), and his case was also adjourned until 27th December for a further court mention.