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HK earthquake hero laid to rest

Updated: 2010-05-07 15:23
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HONG KONG - Hong Kong volunteer Wong Fuk-wing, also known as Ah Fuk, who sacrificed his life in the course of attempting to rescue victims of the recent Qinghai earthquake, was laid to rest in his home city on Friday morning.

Draped with the flag of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Wong's coffin was carried to the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries of Chai Wan from the Universal Funeral Parlor in Kowloon.

Wong, a 46-year-old truck driver who had survived the 7.1-magnitude quake in Yushu last month, died in a powerful aftershock as he returned to rescue the trapped people at the orphanage. He rescued four people including three orphans and a teacher before being hit,

About 200 people went to the funeral house in the rain to wave farewell to the fallen hero, all in tears with chrysanthemum in their hands.

Some mourners held banners chanting "Ah Fuk, proud of you!" or "Spirit of Hong Kong".

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Representatives from "Ah Fuk Volunteers Team", inspired by the fallen hero and launched by several youth groups, also went to pay last tribute to Wong.

The team is currently recruiting volunteers from Hong Kong campus, with the aim to start voluntary work at earthquake-hit areas in China's Qinghai and Sichuan provinces this year.

"He is an ordinary person, but I think it is a glorious death, and his heroic deeds should inspire us all," said a local mourner, who also went to the funeral house on Thursday.

A three-hour public memorial service was held at a memorial hall of the Universal Funeral Parlor in Kowloon on Thursday. Thousands of mourners, including people from all walks of life and four children from the orphanage where Wong worked as a volunteer, went to pay last tribute to Wong.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Chief Executive Donald Tsang, some other officials of the HKSAR government, senior officials of the Liaison Office of the Central Government and representatives from the Qinghai provincial government attended the memorial service.

Tsang has spoken highly of wong's selfless and heroic deeds, dubbing him "a good example for all Hong Kong people" in one of his recent blogs.

Wong's family called on local people to donate to Yushu or the newly-launched "Wong Fuk-wing Memorial Fund" under Hong Kong Red Cross for relief and reconstruction, rather than buy wreaths or funeral scrolls.

As a truck driver, Wong took time from his job to be a volunteer since 2002, going to any part of the country wherever there was need.

In 2002, it took Wong seven months to complete a walk from Hong Kong to Beijing to raise funds for the Chinese Marrow Donor Program, to which he had donated all his savings.

Following the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit southwestern China's Sichuan province in May 2008, Wong was hurried to the quake-stricken areas and worked as a volunteer for two months.

Since the beginning of last month, Wong had been serving in an orphanage in Yushu, Qinghai before the deadly earthquake, which had killed over 2,000 people and injured more than 12,000 others.