Chinese tourist killed by falling hotel window in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping paradise

HONG KONG - Hong Kong saw two incidents of falling windows on Monday (Jan 21), one of which struck and killed a Chinese tourist on a street in the popular Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district.

The 24-year-old tourist was shopping with her boyfriend when a window measuring 44cm by 130cm came crashing down from the 16th floor of the Mira Hong Kong hotel in Nathan Road and hit her on the head, Ming Pao reported.

She was taken to a hospital unconsciousness and was pronounced dead later.

Her 36-year-old boyfriend suffered minor injuries on his left shoulder because of the window glass fragmants and was discharged from hospital after treatment.

Police arrested a Nepalese cleaner, 39, who they say used a key to unlock the window in a guestroom and pushed it outwards to open it before the aluminium window came off.

Reports, citing sources, alleged that the cleaner had opened the window to dispel the stench of cigarette smoke in the room, although smoking is prohibited in guestrooms.

Senior Inspector Chan Ka Ying from the Yau Tsim district crime squad said officers would check with the hotel to determine whether cleaning procedures required windows to be opened, South China Morning Post reported.

"We will look into other aspects, such as the liability of parties like the hotel and its management," she said.

The female cleaner was arrested under Section 4B of the Summary Offences Ordinance upon suspicion of allowing an object to fall from a building to the danger or injury of any person in or near a public place, reported HKFP. The offence carries a fine of HK$10,000 (S$1,730) and a jail term of six months.

The tourist, who has not been named by police, was not a guest at the hotel and had just arrived in the city from Foshan in southern China's Guangdong province on the same day.

The Mira, owned by Miramar Group Hong Kong, offered its condolences and said it was helping police with investigations.

"We will make every effort to assist (the victim's) family," the hotel said in a statement.

It was believed that the screws and rivets on the window had corroded and caused the incident to happen, Ming Pao reported.

SCMP reported that Mira replaced its windows when it underwent a major renovation in 2009.

In a separate incident, a 50cm by 100cm window fell from a public housing flat in Tai Po in the New Territories around two hours after the Tsim Sha Tsui tragedy. No one was injured in the second incident.