Nepalese consul general urges Hong Kong government to provide support to families of Yau Ma Tei unlicensed diner fire victims

Chan Ho-him
·2-min read

The Nepalese consul general in the city has urged the Hong Kong government to provide settlement support to the families of the victims of Sunday’s fatal fire in Yau Ma Tei, in which seven people from the South Asian country were killed.

Acting Consul General Kiran Kumar Gurung made the appeal as he joined hundreds in a mourning ceremony the consulate organised with four Nepalese groups outside the building on Canton Road.

The fatal blaze at the unlicensed restaurant, “Jeere Khursani”, took the lives of seven Nepalis, including an eight-year-old boy and his father, and injured 11.

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Some of the mourners personally knew the deceased, while many others said they had gone there only to offer prayers and flowers for the victims.

People mourn in memory of the fire victims in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Sam Tsang
People mourn in memory of the fire victims in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Sam Tsang

The mourners observed a minute’s silence at around 6.45pm while Buddhist monks offered prayers.

A police source earlier said the fire occurred amid celebrations of a birthday and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The Fire Services Department said the building was not equipped with fire extinguishing systems such as sprinklers.

“It is very, very sorrowful what happened. We [are] very mournful,” Gurung said.

He said the consulate had urged the Hong Kong government to provide support to the victim’s families in terms of the settlement arrangements, as their homes had been destroyed.

“The priority will be housing or any kinds of [similar] support,” he said.

Acting Consul General Kiran Kumar Gurung (centre) offers flowers in memory of the victims of Sunday’s fire in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Sam Tsang
Acting Consul General Kiran Kumar Gurung (centre) offers flowers in memory of the victims of Sunday’s fire in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Sam Tsang

Gurung added the consulate had been in touch with the local Nepalese community after the incident, and had been trying to contact the victims’ families.

Nepali Khadka Hima, who was present at Wednesday’s event, said she knew the eight-year-old boy and his father who died.

She said the child was very close to his mother, and described him as a “lovely and decent boy”.

The 35-year-old, who works at a restaurant, also said she had been feeling extremely sad since the incident. “I have no energy to go to work. I’m mentally disturbed,” she said.

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Another Nepali, Lalit Chhetri, who paid tribute to the victims, said he neither lived near the Yau Ma Tei building nor knew the victims in person.

“I just wanted to pray for them, that’s why I came here,” the 45-year-old said.

Ten survivors remained in hospital as of Wednesday, including seven in critical condition, one in serious condition and two others who were stable.

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