Firefighters and police officers at the site of the fire in Hong Kong. AP
Gulf Today Report
At least seven people were killed and 11 injured in a fire at an apartment building, authorities in Hong Kong said on Sunday.
The blaze broke out on Sunday night in Yau Ma Tei, the deadliest fire to hit the finance hub in nearly a decade, a usually bustling area in Kowloon packed with old apartment blocks, shops and businesses.
According to fire services department officer Cheung Kwong-yuen, the building lacked a sprinkler system and people were trapped in the back of the kitchen.
Police officers and firemen work at the location of a fire in Hong Kong. Peter Parks/AFP
The fire started in what appeared to be a restaurant that was located in an apartment in a residential building, fire officials said at a news conference early Monday. Officials said the cause of the fire was still unknown.
Hong Kong has some of the world's most densely populated — and tallest — apartment blocks.
Deadly fires used to be a regular scourge, especially in poorer neighbourhoods.
But in recent decades safety measures have been ramped up and such fires have become much less commonplace.
The Government Information Service said 17 victims were taken to hospital after the fire broke out in Jordan district shortly after 8:30pm (1230 GMT). Seven died while seven others were listed as being in critical condition.
Tens of thousands of people defied authorities to march through the streets of the financial hub in an unsanctioned rally on Sunday. But it descended into violence outside the city government's offices in the late afternoon as police battled small groups of radical protesters.
It was also reported that large concrete slabs from the building have been falling in the streets.
The night's "extreme violence" justified the use of the emergency law, Beijing-backed Lam said in a television address on Saturday.
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The drugs were concealed under a container carrying foodstuffs coming from one of the neighbouring countries, the Authority said in a statement on Thursday.
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