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Scores injured as typhoon hits Hong Kong

24 July 2012, 08:45

 Hong Kong - More than 100 people were injured and trees were ripped from the ground as a typhoon lashed Hong Kong packing winds in excess of 140km/h, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities issued a hurricane warning for the first time since 1999 as Typhoon Vicente roared to within 100km of Hong Kong shortly after midnight.

The alarm was downgraded to a strong wind warning by mid-morning as the cyclone passed to the west and weakened over the southern Chinese coast.

The storm brought down hundreds of trees and sent debris crashing into downtown streets as commuters made their way home from work on Monday evening, when people were told to seek shelter.

Ferry, bus and train services were suspended or ran at reduced capacity, the port was closed and 44 passenger flights to the regional aviation hub were cancelled. More than 270 flights were delayed.

Services including schools and the stock exchange were closed for the morning but were due to reopen later on Tuesday after authorities gave the all clear to go back to work.

130 hurt

"We haven't experienced this for 10 years. I could hardly walk, the wind kept pushing me," marketing research manager Alpha Yung, aged 28, said as she went to work in the almost deserted streets.

Mignon Chan, a 21-year-old marketing assistant, said the storm was "crazy".

"Last time I suffered this kind of weather I was small. It's chaotic here, trees fell down, people fell down, but I still have to work. That's the worst part," she said.

Almost 130 people sought medical treatment and 268 people took refuge in storm shelters, officials said.

Local media reported that more than 100 commuters stayed in the Tai Wai train station overnight, unable to get home after services were suspended.

A landslide occurred in the upscale Peak neighbourhood but there were no casualties as a result, officials said.

"The wind and rain were pounding on my windows at home last night - bam, bam, bam - they were so strong that I couldn't sleep," security guard Tony Chan said as he cleared shattered glass on the street outside an office tower.

In the nearby territory of Macau, three major bridges over the city's harbour were closed overnight as the typhoon approached, the government said.



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