Temperatures in Hong Kong dipped below freezing point on Sunday as the Fire Department responded to 130 distress calls from members of the public on Kowloon Peak. By 1pm on Sunday, firefighters had also rescued 85 people from Tai Mo Shan, the territory’s highest peak – most of whom were suffering from hypothermia.

A rescue helicopter hovers above Tai Mo Shan. Photo: Tony Chan Mo.

Of those rescued, 43 were sent to Princess Margaret Hospital, Yan Chai Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital. One is in critical condition.

The Fire Department said that the rescue mission was challenging due to the altitude, freezing conditions and numbers stranded. “The main roads frozen and our rescue vehicles cannot be driven to the scene. Our colleagues had to walk 2-3 kms on slippery roads, withstanding dangerous situations to rescue them,” Acting Division Commander (New Territories South) Wong Ka-wing said. “Please do not go up to the mountains anymore.”

Wong said that 141 firefighters, 26 ambulances and helicopter services had been dispatched.

Acting Division Commander (New Territories South) Wong Ka-wing

The Professional Teachers’ Union and Democratic Party have urged the Education Bureau to suspend classes for kindergartens, primary schools and special needs schools on Monday.

Temperatures hit minus 0.8 degrees Celsius in Pokfulam on Sunday afternoon according to the Observatory website.

The government opened 16 temporary shelters for people in need of refuge from the cold as soft hail pellets were recorded in the New Territories.

The treacherous conditions played havoc with this weekend’s Hong Kong 100 Ultra Marathon, with dozens of runners stranded on Tai Mo Shan. Post-race drinks were cancelled as rescue efforts continued on Sunday.

Photo: Hong Kong 100 Ultra Marathon Facebook.

As firefighters fought the frost with water jets.


Posted by PassionTimes 熱血時報 on Saturday, 23 January 2016

In one viral video, underprepared Hong Kongers are seen struggling with the frosty conditions.

According to the Observatory: “The northerly winds associated with the intense cold surge will continue to affect Hong Kong. It will remain very cold tomorrow [Monday]. Temperatures in the urban area will be in the region of 4 degrees while those in the northern part of the New Territories will be close to zero degrees.”

The view overlooking Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo: HKPF/Dan Findlay.

Additional reporting: Kris Cheng.

Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.