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Thursday, Jun 17, 2021

Dangling man saved as jobless fears rise

Dangling man saved as jobless fears rise

A security guard was persuaded to return to safety after he dangled on the edge of a Sheung Wan commercial building.
The man, in his 60s, was said to be worried about losing his job after Kwong Fat Hong Building on Rumsey Street - where he works - changes its security company.

The incident came as a suicide prevention group said it had received a surge in calls as the unemployment rate reached a 17-year high of 7.2 percent in the three months to February.

At 5.24am yesterday, the man's colleague reported him missing to the police, soon after he began his shift.

Officers found the man on the 24th-floor rooftop of the building, but left after the man claimed that he was just "getting some air."

The man soon rejoined his colleagues, but 30 minutes later he went missing again.

His colleagues found him squatting on the edge of the rooftop with his back outwards and arms leaning on an iron bar.

Police were again called to the scene along with negotiators and fire officers, who inflated a safety air cushion at the roadside of the building. Traffic on the road came to a halt.

At 7.30am, the man was pulled back to a safe spot and taken to hospital.

Suicide Prevention Services said it had received 9,855 crisis-related calls in January and February - almost double the number from the same period last year.

"From January to February, around 703 of the calls we received were related to unemployment and financial difficulties," the NGO said.

The executive director of the organization, Vincent Ng Chi-kwan, advised people to confront the issue rather than avoid it.

"They should look for appropriate methods and solutions and seek help from others, including services like ours," he said.

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