Malaysia probes deadly market stampede

   Almost 1,000 people descended on the indoor market in Kuala Lumpur to get their hands on 200 vouchers for a buffet meal during next month's festivities.
Almost 1,000 people descended on the indoor market in Kuala Lumpur to get their hands on 200 vouchers for a buffet meal during next month's festivities.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A stampede in a Malaysian market that killed two elderly women as people rushed to collect free food coupons will be investigated by police, an official said on Tuesday (Jan 29).

Almost 1,000 people descended on the indoor market in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to get their hands on 200 vouchers for a buffet meal during next month's Chinese New Year festivities.

Two women, aged 85 and 78, collapsed in the crush. Attempts by paramedics to resuscitate them failed and they died at the scene, police said.

Two other women who fainted during the rush to collect the vouchers, which were being given away by those running the market, were revived.

Such stampedes are rare in Malaysia, which is relatively affluent in comparison to other parts of South-east Asia.

A security guard described chaotic scenes, telling The Star newspaper that people were "pushing each other" to collect the coupons and then started to scream.

"We will investigate the cause of death and also whether the organisers had put in place sufficient safety measures," local police chief Shaharuddin Abdullah told AFP.

 

Chinese New Year is a major celebration in Malaysia, where about a quarter of the 32 million inhabitants are ethnic Chinese.