Tsing Yi shipyard engulfed in flames, ex-triad owner with HK$20m investment, seeks probe

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19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) A fierce fire ravaged a shipyard on Tam Kon Shan Road, Tsing Yi, with thick smoke billowing into the sky, reported at approximately 8.45am. The blaze, which severely damaged the structure, was extinguished after more than an hour of intense efforts by the Fire Services Department.

The owner of the shipyard, who identified himself as a former triad member but stated he has since renounced his past life, had invested HK$20 million to establish the business over two years ago. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic downturn which significantly impacted his operations, he claims to have no current disputes that could have led to the fire. He expressed a keen interest in a thorough police investigation to determine the origins of the blaze, questioning whether it was an accident or an act of arson.

Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters discovered a Mercedes Benz engulfed in flames, which initially led to the call for emergency services. Preliminary investigations by the police suggest an electrical short circuit involving automotive components might have initiated the fire, though they are continuing to explore all possibilities.

The shipyard owner, upon receiving word of the fire, hurried back to assess the situation and the extent of the damage, which he claimed could not immediately be quantified. He speculated that the presence of flammable materials like paint might have exacerbated the fire, with the dense black smoke possibly arising from burning tyres.

This incident is particularly poignant for the owner, who had faced financial penalties during the pandemic for violating social distancing regulations at his shipyard, which he had opened with a traditional lion dance ceremony. Reflecting on his past and current difficulties, he lamented the state of the economy and the challenges in sustaining his business, hinting at a potential sale of the shipyard if conditions do not improve. Despite his former affiliations, he reiterated his disengagement from any criminal activities and expressed hope for a speedy resolution to the investigation.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing explosions, and the fire affected not only the shipyard but also adjacent structures, resulting in the death of one cat and one dog. Senior Fire Officer Leung from the Tsing Yi Fire Station disclosed that the blaze covered a significant area, involving the ground floor and two lofts of the shipyard. Firefighters managed to rescue several animals and prevented the fire from spreading further, though the cause remains under investigation.