Chow Yun-fat helps to clean up HK streets after Typhoon Hato

Posted August 27, 2017

Macau: The death toll from Severe Typhoon Hato rose to at least 16 Thursday after the storm left a trail of destruction across southern China, blacking out Macau's mega-casinos and battering Hong Kong's skyscrapers.

Casinos, which brought in more than $28 billion in 2016 - over half of Macau's GDP - were among the casualties of the storm, and reporters who got inside the Wynn Macau found switched off slot machines and no air conditioning.

Macau has been rapidly transformed since its return from Portuguese to Chinese rule in 1999 into a gambling hub many times larger than Las Vegas, with major USA casinos piling in.

This is the first time the Macau government has sent a request to the Chinese authorities asking for the PLA Macau garrison to assist in relief efforts since Portugal handed the city over to China in 1999. Wynn Macau fell almost 2 percent, and Melco International dropped 1.6 percent.

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Video footage sent by Macau residents to Reuters showed a man struggling to keep his head above water in an enclosed auto park filled with debris, a truck toppling over and pedestrians flung across pavements. Four of the 10 victims were killed by floods in underground auto parks.

Amid mounting outrage at the government's handling of the storm, including the perceived failure to adequately warn residents as it approached, Macau leader Fernando Chui apologised and said the local observatory's head would step down.

Some residents said it wasn't enough.

"We've been going without water and electricity for more than 24 hours".

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"We are quite anxious about Pakhar", Macau resident Ana Chio said.

Chio said she had been staying at home, reserving water and charged up the batteries of her electronic gadgets.

Hong Kong's Observatory has said that it expects to raise the T3 typhoon signal by Saturday evening, as Tropical Cyclone Pakhar closes in. "We strongly object to the detention of our journalists carrying out their duty to inform the public".

Movie star Chow Yun-fat was spotted lending a helping hand and clearing fallen tree branches by the side of a road in Kowloon Tong after Typhoon Hato hit Hong Kong on Wednesday.

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Ma Io Kun, the commissioner of the Public Security Police in Macau, said the ban was issued in accordance with the law and had nothing to do with the visitors' occupations.