The City University has formed a three-member team to investigate the collapse of a roof on Friday.

The 35 x 40 metres roof collapsed at around 2:30pm at the Hu Fa Kuang Sports Centre building. Two male members of CityU staff were hurt and a third female individual was treated for shock. All were conscious when they were sent to hospital for treatment. No other persons were trapped inside the hall. An event for CityU’s sports team had been planned for Saturday at the hall.

The Fire Services Department said that 13 fire engines, three ambulances and 69 firefighters and paramedics – including 14 from the Urban Search And Rescue Team and a rescue dog – were mobilised. The rescue mission was still ongoing as of 6:40pm.

The collapsed rooftop.

CityU said the primary focus is to ensure that the facility is safe.

“The University is extremely concerned about the incident and would like to send our best wishes to the injured staff for a speedy recovery,” a CityU statement read.

Its President Professor Way Kuo immediately set up a three-member team to assist the emergency services, as well as to investigate the incident. The team members include Vice-President (Administration) Sunny Lee Wai-kwong, Vice-President (Students Affairs) Professor Horace Ip Ho-shing, and Chief-of-Staff Professor Paul Lam Kwan-sing.

Photo: City Broadcasting Channel.

Kuo has been outside of Hong Kong on a duty visit but is now on his way back to CityU.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said at the scene that he has met with chairman of the university’s governing council and demanded a detailed, comprehensive and urgent investigation in order to understand what factors caused the incident.

He said CityU has been checking other facilities for safety. He added that he expected a report to be submitted, preferably within two weeks.

Students commenting on the City Broadcasting Channel, a student-run news site, said that that – during an exam in the building on May 10 – debris fell from the roof and a “bang” sound was heard. The exam period ended on May 17.

Satellite imagery suggested that the roof was covered in grass some time in 2016. A drone video showed that the green area on the rooftop was completed as early as April.

Google maps in November 2015.

A spokesperson for the Buildings Department said the structure of the rest of the building did not show signs of obvious danger.

He added that the department has to conduct further investigations to understand the cause of the incident.

The sports centre, part of the Phase II construction of the university, was built between 1991 and 1993 by Dragages Hong Kong, a subsidiary of France’s Bouygues Construction.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.