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Friday, Jun 09, 2023

Iconic hair salon goes up in flames

A 50-year-old and the last existing Shanghai-style hair salon in Hong Kong was damaged by a blaze late Saturday night.
Wah Lai Beauty Parlour in Choi Hung Estate, Wong Tai Sin, with signature black-and-white chairs and tiles, has been featured in music videos of singer Joey Yung and boyband Mirror.

Police received a report at 11.41pm after residents saw white smoke billowing from the barbershop with a burning plastic odor. The barbershop was closed at the time of the incident.

Firefighters entered the shop after the owner's sister unlocked the gate, and some 30 residents had evacuated.

A 21-year-old woman felt sick after breathing in the smoke, while a 28-year-old man Lam hurt his fingers as he tried to pull the hosepipe to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived.

It is understood that the fire was caused after items in the shop caught fire, while firefighters believed there was no suspicious circumstances about the cause of the fire.

The owner, surnamed Tsui, and his barbers - including 76-year-old Lau - were in the shop yesterday cleaning up the mess caused by the fire.

The barbershop resumed business later in the day after reconnecting the electricity. "Of course, our boss is in a bad mood," Lau said, adding they were fortunate the shop's storage room at a back was affected. "We would be in great trouble if the front shop was also burned."

Walls in the storeroom, along with wooden stools and a washing machine, were blackened by the blaze.

One of the witnesses, housewife Chan, 51, who lives opposite the barbershop, said she was wakened by the odor and noise.

"I went down and saw firefighters holding a hosepipe inside the barbershop with at least 20 people nearby watching," she said,

Wah Lai Beauty Parlour was first opened about in North Point with traditional interior, decades-old original Japanese chairs and vintage green-white floor tiles - has been a popular spot for film directors.

A poster of Cantopop boyband Mirror had been hung on the wall, as it appeared in the music video for Rumours, the first English song by the band released last month.

The shop also appeared in Cantopop diva Joey Yung's music video.

The barbershop has been one of the last existing shops where barbers apply warm compress using towels for the male customers before shaving their beards.
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