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Nine Chinese perish in tsunami
By Albert Au-yeung, Qin Yuding (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-03 08:45

The toll of Chinese residents in the quake-tsunami disaster rose to nine with the Thai authorities confirming the death of a Hong Kong man and a woman on Phi Phi Island Sunday.

One Chinese national from Jiangsu Province, six from Hong Kong and two from Taiwan Province have been confirmed dead.

But the number of missing Hong Kong persons dropped to 60 after more people were able to contact their families, the Security Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) said.

The exact number of missing mainlanders and Taiwan people intsunami-hit countries is still not known.

The HK Security Bureau said in its daily briefing that among the missing Hong Kong people, 41 were in Thailand, seven in Indonesia, one each in Malaysia and Sri Lanka and 10 in other countries.

The two new Hong Kong victimshad studied and worked in the Philippines and had gone to the Thai island on a holiday, the bureau spokesman said. Their families will arrange for the bodies to be returned to the Philippines for cremation.

Among those to be traced was the Irish manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. He is nursing his leg injuries in a Phuket hospital. But his wife was still missing.

This raises to two the number of Hong Kong residents admitted to hospital in the disaster zone. The other is nine-year-old Iris Gayleen Choi, fighting for life in the intensive care unit of Vachira Phuket Hospital. Iris' respiratory system has been damaged and she was still in a coma Sunday.

Iris was admitted to hospital on December 26, the day the killer tsunami struck. Her father and brother were killed in the disaster

In Thailand, the SAR government's multi-disciplinary support team continued its search for missing Hong Kong residents. It has set up information centres in Phuket's six major hospitals and is still running the co-ordination centres and help desks at Bangkok and Phuket airports.

Elsewhere, relatives of themissing desperatelycontinue calling the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies in the affected countries to ask for more information.

Reports of missing Chinese mainlanders vary widely, and none of the numbers have yet to be confirmed by the ministry.

Ning Jun, an Chinese embassy official in Malaysia, saidthe diplomatic staff there has receivedreports from the relatives of about 50 missing people from relatives, saying their loved oneseither worked, studied or were traveling in the country.

"Some of them have already got in touch with their families back in China and we are still doing our best to contact the rest," he said.

The Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka Sun Guoxiang said Sunday no casualty of Chinese nationals has been confirmed so far in tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

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