Regular thrill seekers visiting Ocean Park’s Halloween-themed attractions on Thursday found the games safer but not as scary as previous years, as they saw not just the “ghosts” but also uniformed staff guiding them around within the haunted houses.
The park tightened safety arrangements after a 21-year-old student was fatally hit by the movable base of a coffin in a haunted house on September 16. The incident happened when the attraction was opened to corporate clients before Thursday’s formal opening.
Police sources said the victim, Cheung Chiu-kit, got out of the coffin he rode in inside an attraction called Buried Alive and walked around alone for two to three minutes before he entered a restricted area, where he was struck by the base of an incoming coffin.
While Buried Alive - the only Halloween attraction with mechanical parts, remained closed, other haunted houses were open to the public on Thursday and will remain until the end of the month.
Visitors noted on Thursday there were more uniformed staff stationed in the haunted houses to guide people, but they said the arrangement spoiled the eerie atmosphere.
Pearl Leung Shuk-man, a university student who visited the Halloween extravaganza for the fourth time, said, “In previous years, we only saw staff dressed up as ghosts inside and we had to figure our own way out. It was more fun.
“Now there are uniformed staff inside haunted houses telling you where to go next.”
The 18-year-old went with three friends who were also repeat visitors. They all agreed having more uniformed staff inside haunted houses “spoiled the mystery”. But they were generally satisfied with the attractions and games on offer.
“I’m not worried about safety. The fatal case was only an accident,” said Tang Hiu-yan, 18, standing in front of the cordoned-off accident site with her five friends, who all agreed with her.
Another guest, Angel Chung On-ki, 14, and eight friends from a secondary school in Lai King arrived at the park when it opened at 10am. She said there were fewer visitors than she expected and the waiting time to get into each attraction was “reasonable”.
An Ocean Park spokeswoman said a new round of safety checks was conducted on all Halloween-themed attractions following the fatal incident. She said staff were stationed inside the haunted houses in reflective clothing.