Hong Kong boy band Mirror members, dancers express shock over report findings

Hong Kong boy band Mirror members, dancers express shock over report findings

Venue operators to be grilled in legislature

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Hong Kong boy band Mirror members, dancers express shock over report findings
Hong Kong police Chief Inspector Chow Chun-choi (left) and Hong Kong police Superintendent Alan Chung attend a press conference in Hong Kong on Friday to brief the media after five people were arrested over an accident at a concert by the city’s most popular boy band Mirror on July 28, 2022. (AFP photo)

Members of Hong Kong boy band Mirror and dancers involved in a concert where a falling screen critically injured a performer have voiced dismay on social media at the actions that led to the incident, with officials overseeing the venue set to be grilled in the legislature on Monday.

The findings of an investigation led by the Cultural, Sports and Tourism Bureau were released on Friday, revealing that misreporting of equipment weight, the use of a substandard cable and poor installation were the main causes of the July 28 accident.

Mirror members on Saturday spoke out against the alleged false reporting by Engineering Impact, the principal contractor of the concert.

"The data was totally wrong and falsely reported … When the report was out, we were all shocked by the big discrepancies in the declared weights [of the stage installations]," Mirror member Anson Kong Ip-sang said.

He expressed hope that Hong Kong could provide more protection for stage performers.

"Different regions have put in place mechanisms to protect the safety of performers … I believe the mechanism in Hong Kong at present is still not fully developed. I hope following this incident there will be greater safeguards for performers," he said.

Another group member Anson Lo said from now on he would pay close attention to stage safety and better communicate with dancers and the organiser.

Superintendent Alan Chung of the Kowloon West regional crime unit on Friday accused Engineering Impact of falsely reporting the weight of the stage set-up to mislead the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to hasten an approval process for the show.

Engineering Impact under-reported the weight of six LED screens in the stadium, which totalled 4,468 kilogrammes, by 63% at 1,632kg. A structure installed with lighting devices weighed 2,331kg in total, about 4.8 times more than the declared weight of 489kg.

Laser lights and related mechanical devices weighed 342kg, about 3.7 times more than the 90kg declared by Engineering Impact.

Five suspects were arrested on suspicion of fraud and allowing objects to fall, including workers for the main contractor and subcontractor production companies. One was granted bail on Saturday.

The South China Morning Post has learned that representatives from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Cultural, Sports and Tourism Bureau were expected to take questions on unresolved issues arising from the report on Monday, including the identities and possible liability of registered professionals who inspected the installations.

Dancers who performed in the concert series, organised by Music Nation and MakerVille, took to social media to vent their anger hours after the report was released.

Chang Tsz-fung, 29, an injured dancer who has to do daily physiotherapy after the screen hit his head and crushed his pelvis and thighs, questioned on Instagram how the contractor was able to report the speakers weight at 726kg, when they in fact weighed 5,551kg, more than seven times what was claimed.

"With so much data about the stage set-up, how did the Hong Kong Coliseum, which has done so many concerts in the past, approve this application without finding the weight discrepancies?" he wrote.

Mirror concert dancer Fong Tsz-yan, one of the 23 artists who signed a petition in July appealing to the public not to blame the performers for the incident, also fired a barrage of questions on Instagram, asking why Engineering Impact was not banned from operation when it was accused of deliberately under-reporting the weight of the stage equipment.

"Why have the authorities still not halted the operation of this company when they now discover that it has seriously under-reported the data? … Why is the firm still allowed to take jobs? Where is the deterrent effect?" she asked.

"Why did the government accept everything claimed by this company without performing its supervisory role to vet the application?"

Cultural secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the government would look into whether an independent third party was needed to check engineering work and installations for events as a part of recommendations in light of the accident, while dismissing any suggestion that the department had failed to do its job.

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