Tourist killed by falling window from Hong Kong hotel

Hong Kong police arrested a hotel cleaner under a law against allowing objects to fall from buildings and endanger or harm the public. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019

Tourist killed by falling window from Hong Kong hotel

  • The accident sparked alarm that a window could possibly fall from the outside of a modern hotel building in a city stacked with skyscrapers
  • ‘We believe that the cleaner tried to open the window, and the window immediately fell after she opened it’

HONG KONG: A hotel employee arrested after a window she was cleaning fell onto a busy Hong Kong street and killed a tourist was released on bail Tuesday as investigators try to work out what caused the fatal tragedy.
Police said a 24-year-old female tourist from the Chinese mainland was struck by the window which fell from the 16th floor of the Mira Hotel in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Monday.
She was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save her. A male friend was also struck by the window but escaped with only light injuries.
Police arrested a hotel cleaner under a law against allowing objects to fall from buildings and endanger or harm the public.
The accident sparked alarm that a window could possibly fall from the outside of a modern hotel building in a city stacked with skyscrapers.
A police spokesperson said that the woman was released on bail Tuesday pending further enquiries and is required to report back in early February.
Local police officer Chan Ka-ying told reporters on Monday that the hotel windows could only be opened by staff with a special key.
“We believe that the cleaner tried to open the window, and the window immediately fell after she opened it,” she said.
The Mira Hotel made headlines in 2013 when it was chosen by whistleblower Edward Snowden as his bolthole in Hong Kong after he fled the United States carrying a trove of information on government surveillance.
The hotel did not respond to an AFP request for comment but local media said it had vowed to cooperate with authorities.


Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

Updated 34 min 48 sec ago

Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

  • The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday
  • Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month

DOHA: The US and the Taliban met in Doha on Thursday, an American source close to the talks said, for potentially decisive dialogue to allow Washington to drawdown militarily in Afghanistan.
The source said the talks started around 1300 GMT — the ninth time the two foes have met face-to-face.
The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday, blasts rocked Jalalabad Monday, and the death toll from a weekend wedding bombing reached 80.
Washington’s top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller was at the talks venue, according to an AFP correspondent.
The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the insurgent group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.
Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.
Taliban lead negotiator Abbas Stanikzai told AFP Thursday that overall talks had been “going well.”
The talks are expected to focus on establishing a timeline for the US withdrawal of its more than 13,000 troops in Afghanistan.
“We’ve been there for 18 years, it’s ridiculous,” US President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday.
“We are negotiating with the government and we are negotiating with the Taliban,” he said.
“We have good talks going and we will see what happens.”
But the thorny issues of power-sharing with the Taliban, the role of regional powers including Pakistan and India, and the fate of Afghanistan’s incumbent administration remain unresolved.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to bolster optimism for a peace agreement last week when he said in a tweet that he hoped this is the final year that the country is at war.