Secretary for Security Chris Tang on Wednesday said a 62-year-old contractor has been arrested after two workers died in an apparent gas poisoning at the weekend.
The duo had gone underground on Saturday to repair pipelines near the Elements shopping mall in West Kowloon. They were found dead on Sunday.
Tang said the arrest was in relation to alleged breaches of occupational health and safety laws, but more serious charges will also be considered.
"For the time being, we arrest him for OSH [Occupational Safety and Health] related offences. But actually we are actively investigating the case, we will not rule out the possibility that we will further arrest him for other offences including manslaughter," he told reporters after attending a Fight Crime Committee meeting.
Police said according to their initial findings, safety procedures had not been strictly followed, noting that no breathing apparatus was found at the scene.
"We still have to find out the scope of it and who was responsible for the negligence," assistant district commander Gar Kam-lam told a separate briefing.
Meanwhile, relatives of the two victims said they'd rejected an ex-gratia offer from the MTR Corporation, which operates the Elements mall.
Relatives met with the MTR on Wednesday and said afterwards that the offer reflected a lack of sincerity on its behalf. It is expected to come up with a counter-proposal later this week.
The railway operator, in response, said it could assist the victims’ families with the provision of financial assistance and arrangements on religious ceremonies.
The rail company also said it is highly concerned about the incident and has immediately formed an investigation panel.
The Development Bureau, for its part, said it has decided to suspend the contractor involved in the weekend's incident from bidding for more public projects, instead of only government air-conditioning installation contracts as announced earlier.
A bureau spokesperson said the decision came after considering the seriousness of the incident and having consulted the relevant department.
Last updated: 2023-09-27 HKT 23:12