Initial investigation has shown that the disaster was the result of carelessness, and the Nepali owners of the restaurant not adhering to Hong Kong’s strict fire and emergency rules.
There are many hole-in-the-wall establishments like this set up by Nepalis living in the former British territory which are registered as ‘clubs’, but actually function as restaurants — and do not have mandatory safety features. Many Nepali families congregate to these eateries to celebrate festivals, holidays and birthdays.
Among the dead on the Sunday night fire on Canton Road was Raju Nepal and his 9-year-old son, Ryan, as well as Yubaraj Kandel and his 13-year-old daughter Kirtika. Club manager Binita Tamang and employees Anita Niraula and Sher Gurung are also among the dead. Binita Tamang’s husband, Mukesh Shrestha is in critical condition.
“As soon as the fire started, they told the women and children to go to the kitchen and storeroom, and tried to put out the flames themselves,” a relative of one of the dead said.