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Scores Injured as Typhoon Lashes Hong Kong

Scores of people were injured and trees were ripped from the ground as a typhoon lashed Hong Kong packing winds in excess of 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities issued a hurricane warning for the first time since 1999 as Typhoon Vicente roared to within 100 kilometers of Hong Kong shortly after midnight, disrupting dozens of flights to the regional hub.

The alarm was downgraded to a strong wind warning by mid-morning as the cyclone passed to the west and weakened over the southern Chinese coast.

The storm brought down hundreds of trees and sent debris crashing into downtown streets as commuters made their way home from work on Monday evening, when people were told to seek shelter.

Ferry, bus and train services were suspended or ran at reduced capacity, the port and schools were closed, and 44 passenger flights were cancelled. More than 270 flights were delayed.

The stock exchange was also closed for the morning but reopened in the afternoon after authorities gave the all clear to go back to work.

Almost 140 people sought medical treatment and 268 people took refuge in storm shelters, officials said. Seventy-one people remained in hospital including one who was in a serious condition.

Local media reported that more than 100 commuters stayed in the Tai Wai train station overnight, unable to get home after services were suspended.

A landslide occurred in the upscale Peak neighborhood but there were no casualties as a result, officials said.

Ocean Park tourist attraction said it would remain closed for the day to carry out a "thorough inspection" of the property for possible storm damage.

In the nearby territory of Macau, three major bridges over the city's harbor were closed overnight as the typhoon approached, the government said.

Mainland officials said the typhoon hit Taishan city in Guangdong province at 4:00 am (2000 GMT Monday). There were no immediate reports of casualties but officials said damage was still being assessed.

Source: Agence France Presse


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