Because deaths, injuries and rescues are so frequent in Sai Kung hills, Chief Inspector Daniel Tsang, local police station commander, has issued a hiking safety video. Some examples of what Daniel is talking about:
- A fireman died on Ma On Shan after falling during a rescue of an off-duty policeman and his girlfriend.
- A 60-year-old man collapsed and died near treacherous trails on Sharp Peak.
- Another off-duty policeman got lost in the hills and called 999. Mysteriously his calls stopped. His body has never been found.
- A man hiking with three woman on Maclehose Stage 3 said to his companions he wasn’t feeling well and asked them to go ahead. Two days later police found his body.
- Near Tai Long Wan a woman hiker was swept off rocks and drowned.
It is dangerous out there if you are unfit, under-prepared, ill or just plain foolish. Between 2005 and 2015 rescues of hikers went from 138 a year to 340.
Experienced hikers say if you stick to commonsense rules you will be safe in the hills: Don’t take on too much too soon, study your route, don’t go alone, take adequate food and water, wear strong boots, bring a mobile phone and a map and a torch, note the marking posts so if you have a problem you can say where you are, always be aware of your alternative routes out of the bush.