Families outraged as two workers suspected to have been trapped overnight at West Kowloon construction site resulting in tragic deaths

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Insert picture: Siu Sin-man, the chief executive of the Industrial Accident Victims' Rights Association

24th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a devastating industrial accident that occurred early this morning (24th September), two workers lost their lives at a construction site on 1, Austin Road West in West Kowloon Cultural District. The victims, who were working inside an underground pipeline, are believed to have been overcome by toxic gas fumes. Despite being rescued and rushed to the hospital, their lives could not be saved. The incident has raised serious concerns among the community.

Siu Sin-man, chief executive of the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims arrived at the scene to investigate the matter. She revealed that the person in charge of the construction site was conspicuously absent, and it remains unclear which party is responsible for the pipeline in question. The identities of the project manager and the employer involved are also unknown, leaving the victims’ families completely in the dark about the circumstances surrounding the accident. This lack of transparency has sparked outrage among the affected families, who find the situation utterly unacceptable.

According to the bereaved families, the two deceased workers, identified as Mr. Kwok Fo-kei (61 years old) and Mr. Lau Ho-cheung (63 years old), did not return home after work yesterday (23rd September). Mr. Kwok’s wife contacted their supervisor this morning, only to discover that her husband and his colleague were still at the construction site. Mrs. Kwok questioned why her husband had been assigned to work inside the underground pipeline without proper supervision from safety personnel. She expressed her disbelief that nobody noticed their absence, considering that there should be records of workers entering and leaving the site. Mrs. Kwok finds it difficult to accept that her husband was working diligently for the company, while the company failed to prioritize the safety of its employees. She insists that the authorities thoroughly investigate the incident and ensure justice is served.

Unable to contact any of her husband’s colleagues last night due to the late hour, Mrs. Kwok stated, “No one responded for over 10 hours. It’s truly unbelievable.” She spent the entire night unable to sleep, mistaking the sound of the iron gate for her husband’s return. Only in the morning did she manage to get in touch with her husband’s coworkers and supervisor to seek help in finding him.

Mr. Lau Ho-cheung, the other deceased worker, leaves behind two sons and one daughter. His son expressed his confusion and disbelief regarding the accident. He explained that his father had been working as a pipe fitter for over 30 years, and although the work was physically demanding, the working hours were generally similar to those of other construction sites. At first, he assumed his father had worked overtime on the previous day, but when he sent his father a text message this morning and received no response, he became alarmed. He was left perplexed as to why the two workers were abandoned at the construction site, with even their immediate supervisor seemingly unaware of the situation. He stressed the importance of the families being informed before the incident was exposed.