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Society

Typhoon Koinu leaves thousands stranded at Hong Kong airport.

  • By: Xiya RUI、Hanzhi YANGEdited by: Tsz Yin HO
  • 2023-10-12

Thousands were left stranded at the Hong Kong airport on Sunday after the suspension of the airport train and buses and a shortage of taxis during typhoon Koinu. The Hong Kong Observatory issued typhoon signal 9, the second highest signal,  at 11.50 pm on October 8 as typhoon Koinu approached the coast of Guangdong.  According to the Observatory, most places in Hong Kong had more than 100 millimetres of rain and reaching 200 millimetres in some districts such as Hong Kong Island East. Speaking on RTHK, the Hong Kong's Airport Authority stated that 90 flights were cancelled throughout the day and another 130 were delayed. But some 60 flights that landed that evening brought in hundreds of passengers.  Most public transport services stopped soon after signal 9 was issued,  including the Citybus’s Cityflyer route and MTR’s Airport Express, which give access to the airport and urban areas.  The waiting time for taxis exceeded three hours, leading to frustration among incoming passengers complaining about the insufficient supply of taxis in the city. “We have been waiting for over two hours, but we haven't even reached the halfway point of the queue,” said Moses Chan, 37, a Singaporean visitor waiting in line, adding that he and his wife were shocked by the overwhelming crowds. “Due to the typhoon, the supply of taxis in Hong Kong is actually very low, with only dozens of taxis arriving at the airport per hour,” said Kelly Tang, a staff member of the airport who was  responsible for managing order. Airport staff also expressed their apologies for the situation, and free water along with around-the-clock catering services was distributed to those stranded at the airport. “The waiting time is really long, with no end in sight,” Chan, the Singaporean traveller added. Chan and his wife chose to …

Society

17-year-old Hong Kong student found alive after missing for a week

  • By: Yau To LUMEdited by: Tsz In Warren LEUNG
  • 2023-10-12

Matthew Tsang Hin-chit, the 17-year-old teen who was missing for a week, was found alive by rescue teams at Ma On-shan Country Park on Wednesday.  Firefighters found the Diocesan Boys’ School’s pupil in a bush near Lo Shue Tin Hang in Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon. Tsang was found unclothed but was not injured. Firefighters also gave him a bottle of energy drink. According to the police, no suspicious circumstances were detected. He was conscious while being taken to the Eastern Hospital for further treatment. Chow Cheuk-fung, the station commander of Sha Tin Fire Station, said in a press briefing that the rescue teams, including the Mountain Search team and other supporting forces, had mobilised 28 fire trucks, and nine ambulances, with 122 firefighters and 24 ambulance men. Cheung Tin-yu, senior station officer, said in the same briefing that the search had covered 28.8 square kilometres, adding that the rescue team even faced immense obstacles due to the limited information and extreme weather conditions, such as the Black rainstorm signal and typhoon Koinu that hit the city.  “The rescue team did not know the exact route Tsang had headed, as he did not carry any communication devices, so they could not track his location,” Cheung said. “The terrain was dangerous, and we have been facing Typhoon Koinu and rainstorms in the last week.”  The station officer also said the results team used technology like drones for taking pictures, and that the photos were analyzed by artificial intelligence to narrow down the search areas. Amy Chan, the rescued pupil’s mother, expressed gratitude on social media after realizing that her son was found alive. “Although it had been eight days, No. 9 Increasing Gale or Storm signal and black rainstorm signal, we never give up, and it was a miracle that my son …

Society

Migrating bird draws crowd at Kwun Tong Promenade

  • By: James Ezekiel Kalaw MODESTOEdited by: Tsz Ying CHEUNG
  • 2023-10-07

A group of photographers gathered under the beating sun at Kwun Tong Promenade on Friday, all for a picture of a lone Eurasian Hoopoe.  The Eurasian Hoopoe is a medium-sized bird from the Upupidae family and native to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. They often appear alone and are known for their distinct "hoo-poo-poo" call. “It made me stop to take a look,” said Fred Kwok Yuen-po, who took a moment from his routine jog to photograph the bird. He had never seen so many photographers at one spot since he started running along the promenade in 2019. "I'm not familiar with birds myself, but it's nice to see special ones," Kwok said. Seemingly unfazed by the people around it, the Eurasian Hoopoe remained active and pecked at the ground, looking for soil-dwelling slugs and worms to eat. While it is of "least concern" on the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the population of the Hoopoe is declining in parts of Asia and Europe as a result of hunting, habitat loss and climate change, according to BirdLife International, a global network of non-governmental organisations specialising in bird conservation and research. Daniel Yu Shun-cheung, 66, is a bird watcher with over a decade of experience. "It's my first time photographing a bird here," he said. Yu said the Hoopoe is a great find for the local bird watching community. While the promenade gets visits from local birds, such as the widespread Eurasian Tree Sparrow and Black-collared Starling, there have been no reports of migrating birds around the area.  "I never thought it could show up in such a busy environment," said Yu.  Despite being an “uncommon and irregular visitor” during autumn and winter, the Eurasian Hoopoe has been recorded in open farms and grasslands, with some …

Culture & Leisure

New archeological discoveries from Sanxingdui sites unveiled at Hong Kong Palace Museum

  • By: Juncong SHUAI、Yuqi CHUEdited by: Chengqi MO
  • 2023-09-27

The Hong Kong Palace Museum exhibition of Sanxingdui relics opened Wednesday, with nearly half of the 120 artefacts unearthed since 2020 and showing for the first time in a major exhibition outside Sichuan province. The bronze, gold, jade and ceramic artifacts dating back 2,600 to 4,500 years are from the Sanxingdui, Jinsha and Bodun archeological sites on the Chengdu Plain. Twenty-three items are grade-one national treasures. Sanxingdui, referring to three remnants of man-made mounds that might have been part of ancient city walls, was first discovered in the late 1920s near Guanghan, Sichuan province. “The reason why we choose to unveil many of the new discoveries in Hong Kong is that compared to the mainland, there is a lack of knowledge of ancient Chinese culture,” said Lei Yu, the curator of Sanxingdui Museum. “The new archeological discoveries are significant because they extend our understanding of Sanxingdui or Shu cultures, with abundant bronze wares that have never been seen before,” Lei added. "After viewing these relics, I was particularly shocked by the beauty and design, which express the Sanxingdui people's respect for nature and gods," said Richard Cheng, a 65-year-old Hong Kong resident. "The exhibition really empowers my cultural confidence." The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections which explore the art, urban life, belief systems and the origins and legacy of the ancient Shu civilization. The exhibition has over 10 multimedia displays, including a holographic projection of a bronze tree and virtual reconstruction of a broken bronze figure. “After watching this exhibition, I find ancient Chinese culture so mysterious,” Zack Brown, 34, said. “ It’s amazing that scholars don’t exactly know what these artefacts were used for thousands of years ago, which leaves space for imagination.” Ray Chen, 22, a student from Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he was disappointed …

Society

Black rainstorm leaves Hong Kong a flooding mess

  • By: Elif Lale AYHAN、Ka Man WongEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-09-08

The  Hong Kong Observatory issued the black rainstorm warning last night at 11:05 pm and it remained in effect for a record-breaking time of more than 12 hours. All rainstorm warnings were cancelled at 4:45 pm today. The rain bands of Typhoon Haikui brought more than 145.5 millimetres of rain in one hour, the highest hourly rainfall since 1884. The downpour caused flooding in many districts.  The worst affected  areas included Kowloon Tong  and  Wong Tai Sin.  Much of the lower floors of Wong Tai Sin’s Temple Mall, was under water. Rainwater poured into some  MTR stations, forcing trains to skip certain stops because of flooded platforms. At around 6 a.m. today, the government announced that all schools would suspend classes for the day. Employers were told to implement typhoon 8 work arrangements. Kubi Liu, a local 20-year-old student at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, stayed at home in Lee Uk Village in Fanling, New Territories. “I have seen heavy rain like this before. It’s common in Hong Kong, but rain which causes great damage at such short notice, like last night, is rare. Although the heavy rain brought me joy, the follow-up action and clean-up will take some time and money,” Liu said. A bus stop was flooded in her neighbourhood. She thought drainage management in the city could be better to avoid severe flooding. According to Liu, vehicles at Mei Lam, a low-lying area in Sha Tin, were submerged. At some villages in Fanling, minibuses came to a halt because of the flood. By 11:41 pm, a total of 144 people were treated in public hospitals for flood related injuries, according to the Hospital Authority. Chief Executive John Lee said that authorities would “review the way announcements were made” to the general public during extreme weather. “In dealing …

Business

Corporate and government seek more ESG practices in small businesses

  • By: Nga Ying LAU、Yuchen LIEdited by: Bella Ding、Rex Cheuk、Yuhe WANG
  • 2023-07-26

Dehtlet, a Hong Kong-based small and medium-sized enterprise specialising in innovative eco-toilet systems, has received international and Hong Kong awards for improving the environment. The eco-toilet system has undergone more than seven generations of modification. The use of fabric glass in producing the eco-toilets at first was later found to contaminate the environment and so low-density polyethene, a material that poses less harm to the environment was adopted instead. “We are still searching for technologies in making reclaimed rubber as suitable construction materials to replace low-density polyethene, which would still create pollutants during the manufacturing process,” said Lian Chan Lai-yan, the co-founder and managing director of Dehlet. By deploying wind power, thermal power and gravity to conduct aerobic decomposition, the eco-system separates faeces and urine through aerobic decomposition. The separation process does not require the use of water, which avoids the effluent problems associated with water treatment, and the solid could eventually return to nature while the liquid can be used for handwashing. Chan said that reported by the United Nations, the sanitation coverage in rural areas of mainland China was even 2% lower than that of Kenya, shocking her husband and her to hop on the train of a sustainable business. Citizens getting infected through bathroom drain pipes during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 also inspired her to improve the toilet system amid the ongoing gloom of COVID-19. In line with the career they wish to contribute to, recent years have witnessed the growing awareness of the Environment, Social and Governance concepts within corporates, ranking higher in the business agenda. “The ESG standards become more demanding as most of our customers are listed and multinational corporations,” said Chan. A Deutsche Bank research found out that more companies are adopting ESG as it could improve the …

Culture & Leisure

Going green could be expensive but worthwhile in the UK

  • By: Bella Ding、Zimo ZHONG、Le Ha NGUYENEdited by: Bella Ding
  • 2023-07-21

Paprika is a spice made from dried, ground peppers used in Spanish and English cuisines, and among different flavours, smoked paprika won great popularity with BBC listing 261 recipes in total using this ingredient under its food column. The ordinary smoked paprika sold at grocery stores costs around £1.69 for 75g while the same product tagged environment-friendly costs £1.3 for just 10g, or nearly five times more expensive, in Re: Store, a zero waste shop located in Hackney, London. Established in 2019 by founder Megan Adams, Re: Store encourages zero waste-conscious shopping to help protect the planet from harmful degradation. Consumers could bring their own containers for products or utilise paper bags provided by the shop to reduce the use of plastic for packaging. “Our customers want to shop locally and shop sustainably to reduce their environmental impacts,” said Shaniah Bond, assistant manager at Re: Store, “A lot of them like the process of bringing their own jars, filling them and taking them home.” Food waste situation in the UK According to the true cost accounting published by Sustainable Food Trust, people in the UK spend £120 billion annually on food, and an additional £116 billion in environmental and health costs caused by the food and farming industries, which are instead passed onto the public through taxes and expenses related to climate change and environmental damage. Sustainable food reduces the negative environmental impact during their production process, which no longer depends on businesses and systems based on extraction and growth but towards approaches based on the principles of regeneration, sustainability and the circular economy. According to Statista, UK households are estimated to throw away nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging per year, or 66 items per household per week on average. In 2021, the waste reached a staggering number …

Society

Australians volunteer to conserve endangered species

  • By: Jayde Cheung、Tracy LeungEdited by: Jenny Lam
  • 2023-06-08

Native Australian animals are increasingly under threat as natural disasters fueled by a changing climate ravage their habitats. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas left in the wild in 2022, possibly as few as 32,065. Koalas in the southern part of Australia face a threat of habitat loss because the woods and woodlands there are being destroyed for urban development and agriculture. Koalas are also killed in domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents.  As a continent prone to a range of devastating natural hazards including bushfires, flooding and tropical cyclones, the government has committed to spend AU$2,300,000,000 (HK$11,740,000,000) on environmental preservation in the latest budget,  Up to AU$100,000,000 is specifically allocated to biodiversity preservation. People from all walks of life work together, some volunteer to be firefighters or animal rescuers, all with the aim of saving the country’s natural environment before it is too late.  In June 2019, a deadly fire swept across New South Wales and demolished 6.2% of the wildlife natural habitat. The country set aside AU$200,000,000 (HK$1,020,000,000) to restore the habitats, according to the Australian government’s website.  Jane Willcock is the senior registrar and museum operations coordinator at the University of Queensland.  “The koalas are too afraid in their place, and they are very picky about what they eat, so they are very difficult to accommodate,” Willcock explained. Financial and physical support since the woods were ignited in July 2019 put an end to the fatal bushfire that impacted three billion animals between 2019 and 2020, either killing them or reducing their homes to ashes, according to the data from World Wildlife Fund.  “My school had posters about koala-saving techniques all over the campus,” said Chong Yan, a veterinary student at the University of Sydney. The veterinary society she joined …

Society

Hong Kong elderly struggle to age with the extreme heat

  • By: Yi Yin CHOW、Runqing LI、Jemima BadajosEdited by: Nola Yip、Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-05-09

Chan Yin-chi, 77, lives alone in Kwai Hing. Every Tuesday, he visits the local community centre to dance with other elderly people. She is health conscious and brews her red dates tea every morning. The hot summer nights in Hong Kong though make it hard to sleep without an air conditioner, yet the damp cold air is a problem for Chan. “The cold wind from the air conditioning during the night makes my muscles and bones ache,” she said. “From here to here, there is pain in the whole body,” she said, pointing at her shoulders and legs.  Over the past two decades, the number of days when the temperature in Hong Kong was more than  33°C in a year has increased by 50%, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. Depending on how serious the greenhouse gas emissions are, the annual mean temperature of the city is expected to rise by as high as 1.7°C from 2041 to 2060. Joey Ho Wai-yan, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong, explained that elderly folks are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Her clinic is often packed with people who suffered from heat stroke after staying outdoors for a long time .“Elderly people are physically weaker, have lower energy, poorer perspiration and they have difficulty adjusting to air conditioning, which affects the balance of their body temperature,” said Ho. “Even after seeking medical advice and taking antipyretic medication, the fever may still recur.”  Heat stroke is caused when the body temperature reaches 41°C or higher. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and mental confusion, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Ho explained that climate change is making  Hong Kong becoming hotter and more humid from mid-spring to the end of summer. This makes it harder for …

Society

Farewell To Tai O

  • By: Yee Ling TSANG、Huen Tung LEI、Wai Sum CHEUNGEdited by: Yu Yin WONG
  • 2023-05-02

Colourful soda cans shaped into lanterns that dangle from long pieces of wires is a type of traditional wind chime at the fishing village of Tai O. But when you walk around the many huts on stilts there these days, some of the chimes are rusted and broken because the owners have left for good. They were evacuated because flooding destroyed their homes. Tai O, is one of Hong Kong’s oldest fishing villages. It is in a low-lying area on the western coast of Lantau Island. This “Venice of Hong Kong” is threatened by inundation because of climate change.  Residents recalled their survival experience from two of the most devastating typhoons in Tai O: Typhoon Hato in 2017 and Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018.  In August 2017, Super Typhoon Hato smashed into Hong Kong with an estimated sustained wind speed of 185 kilometres per hour. The Hong Kong Observatory issued Hurricane Signal No.10, the strongest tropical storm warning signal possible here. It was the first No.10 in five years. Hato brought severe flooding and destruction in multiple coastal regions, including Tai O, Cheung Chau, Heng Fa Chuen, and Lei Yue Mun. In Tai O, the damage was the worst in nine years, according to the Observatory. When the government sounded the flood alert system, many residents there had to evacuate. The rising water approached faster than residents expected. Kenny Wong, a villager in Tai O, said they didn’t have time to prepare because the official forecast underestimated the typhoon’s impact. “The flood was up to my knees at home. Many of my furniture and electrical appliances were damaged during the storm surge,” Wong said.  He said Typhoon Mangkhut was even worse than Hato.  When Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in September 2018, it brought the most severe wind strength recorded …