Thursday, August 28, 2008

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Tree Failure in Stanley causing Fatality)

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

This Station has received enough messages & phone calls to demand a Station Mail on the hot topic of the killing Erythrina in Stanley on 27.8.08 from Station Members & media. Please kindly note ISA HK/China is a research & education organization only. We do not take side for anybody, & the information given in this Station Mail will take the attitude of an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) to be impartial, fact-finding & truth-telling under the details gathered by this Station.

Before anything else, ISA HK/China would like to mourn the victim of the event with grief, who was a 19 year old fair lady having a bright future ahead of her. We wish to offer our deepest condolence to her family & pray for her soul to rest in peace in heaven.

It must also be stated that the Station Manager issuing this Station Mail has not been on site, & has never seen or touched this fallen tree before the failure. Therefore, anything written down here would come from media reports only & shall be deemed as invalid for any legal or professional investigation.

From information gathered so far, it appeared that this tree failed on a calm sunny afternoon without warning to hit the passing crowd underneath causing fatality. This tree was claimed to have been inspected by a Govt Dept only a few days before the failure. It was also said to have undergone Tomograph for decay, & was quoted with result as 'acceptable'.

The remaining parts of the fallen tree were quickly removed for any post-mortem investigation. Without such, it would be hard to study the failed portion & to determine whether the branch was failing out of heavy end-weight, or from an internal decay with crack development eventually leading to breakage. Post-mortem is vital to assess the cause of the failure & without such, much of the comments here would become guesswork & IPA must not guess but state from facts.

Wind damage might not be a direct cause for the branch breakage as the weather during the failure was sunny & calm. Tree Experts suspected Erythrina Gall Wasps had weakened the tree but again, shell thickness would need to be determined against end weight & tree structure. Decay development, internal cracks, canker damage & branch structure would all need to be assessed for a probable explanation. Any of the above would require measurement of the tree before failure & after failure. It would be like forensic experts examining a murder case. Playing Tree Detective is part of IPA work.

Therefore, in view of the lack of measurements & technical details before & after the failure, for any responsible IPA, no conclusion regarding the cause of the failure can be easily drawn except this tree had failed in an unexpected circumstance. This Station is very sure that no Govt Dept in any civilized world would like to see a tree to fail to kill a civilian. Whether the incident involved Negligence or not, it would be up to the Court to decide.

While we mourn the deceased with pain, we may at the same time need to look for the future to avoid similar incident. Our Tree Professionals may wish to remind our authorities to divert extra resources to pick out those Mature Trees which have turned into Time Bombs already in our city. IPA may be deployed to provide third party opinion to explain to the public. More work will need to be done.

ISA HK/China does not look forward to issue Station Mail of this kind with grief, & sincerely wish our trees can be our assets instead of liabilities in our loving city.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (


(星島)8月28日 星期四 05:30

(星島日報 報道)赤柱 昨午發生巨樹倒塌殺人慘劇,一棵屹立赤柱大街逾百年樹王「刺桐」,疑被真菌侵蛀,病入膏肓,不時傳出臭味,颱風「鸚鵡」襲港後,康文署 亦曾到場檢驗,未有任何發現,豈料事隔四天,該樹突解體倒塌,約一噸重樹幹,壓中一名與男友人逛街的十九歲醫生世家少女,當場爆頭吐血慘死,另兩名女童手腳受傷。

  百年樹王倒塌,釀成一死兩傷。慘死少女莊頌賢(十九歲),出身杏林世家,就讀本港一所著名大學,父及姊皆為醫生,其姊在東區醫院 當值,目送胞妹送院不治,不禁傷心欲絕;至於兩傷者是一對表姊妹,分別姓黃(十二歲),姓蔡(十一歲)。









  少女爆頭 吐血昏迷


  身旁男友 目瞪口呆


赤柱百年老樹殺準港大生 康文署上月底列狀况「可接受」 5天前檢查無異樣

(明報)8月28日 星期四 05:10

【明報專訊】赤柱 大街一棵收錄在古樹名冊的百年刺桐,5天前經康文署 人員檢視證實狀况正常後,昨午在毫無先兆下突然倒塌,變成「殺人樹」。事發時,23米高的樹幹和樹枝如死神魔爪般直撲路面,粗壯樹椏擊向一名生於醫護世家兼為準港大生的19歲少女,事主頭部大量流血當場昏迷。附近一名醫生聯同一名護士趕至,立即替傷者急救並陪同送院。少女送抵東區醫院 時,在院內工作的姊姊已趕來相迎,惜摯親最終不治。事件中另有兩名女童遭樹枝擦傷手臂,並無大礙。

醫生之女 聖保祿畢業

被樹壓死的19歲少女莊頌賢(洋名Kitty),在銅鑼灣 聖保祿學校畢業;其父為執業20多年的內科醫生莊堅琪,胞姊任醫護人員。莊女已獲香港大學 取錄為經濟及金融系新生,8月5至7日到港大出席迎新營。其師兄表示,Kitty為人叻女、聰明活潑,僅認識幾天已與大家打成一片,眾人聞噩耗後十分傷感。至於受傷的兩名女童分別姓黃(12歲)及姓蔡(11歲),敷治後出院。


兩年前刺桐發臭 樹身發現動物遺留物






Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ISA HK/China --- IPA concept approval

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

ISA HK/China wishes to thank all those who have sent in feedback on the Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) concept mentioned below. Some have even copied their feedback all the way to ISA HQ to make sure that their views are noticed. We wish to thank them all indeed.

By now, this Station can safely say that the IPA concept is receiving an overwhelming support from our Station Members. Among all feedback received, all have given approval for the IPA concept with the exception of one. It is likely that the IPA system will go ahead in the near future in our territory.

It is important to understand that the IPA system is not designed only for HK, but also for the greater part of our territory which includes Macau, Taiwan & China. The IPA concept incorporates knowledge, practical skills, working experience, international networking & communication ability. It is known that China operates a very different landscape system to HK & they may claim that they have hundreds of thousands of Tree Experts in their Govt & Universities. However, it would be difficult for them to say the same that they also have an equivalent of IPA when they meet us. IPA would give ISA HK/China an edge to penetrate into China & be respected when promote ISA arboriculture there. This was proven in our initial contacts with the Chinese officials so far.

It is also worth noticing that In the IPA requirement, the Certified Tree Worker (CTW) credential is not just all about tree climbing like some of our Station Members have acknowledged. As listed in the CTW exam requirement in ISA, the written part of the CTW exam tests for pruning, removal, cabling and safety. Chainsaw uses is also part of the knowledge requirement in the CTW credential. The practical part of the CTW exam also tests for Tree Inspection & Risk Assessment in front of a real tree before the climb. The CTW credential tests for basic knowledge & skills of Tree Work in a realistic environment, which is something an IPA is deemed to possess.

Even among a general approval for the IPA system in HK, this Station has the following consideration & comments before implementing the IPA system:

1. The IPA system is aimed for those CA who wishes to go into self-practice only. Those who do not, need not bother with IPA.

2. The IPA system will wait for until at least 50 no. of our CA has re-certified. This is expected to be within a year or two when more of our current CA have expired the 3 year validity. We also need to give all those who are interested time to take their CTW & attend ISA International Conferences for internatinal networking.

3. The IPA system will take the form of voluntary registration in ISA HK/China. Those who meets the requirements will join a short list of IPA which will be distributed to anybody interested to contact an IPA. This list will be updated from time to time to maintain freshness.

4. The IPA system will go through a Station vote before implementation later.

5. Anyone can call himself/herself an IPA at present, although ISA HK/China would provide recommendation of requirements to anyone enquiring, & the IPA will face his/her own consequence alone once contracted.

We expect our future IPA to stand strong & respected in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. HK has always been our testing ground for developing ISA Arboriculture with her western civilization & legal system so far. However, HK is only known to be a dot in Greater China & our vision is not limited to just HK alone. At present, China has over 900 cities with size & population comparable to HK. China also has countless billions of trees. ISA HK/China has set our eyes for Greater China & have already met initial successes in our contacts up there. The Chinese have so far loved us like missing relatives in every meeting & have promised to put up seminars, tree climbing demonstration & even a parade with our climbers in full gears to flash around the audience in their Flower Shows. The initial welcome there have been most encouraging. We must carry on the steam.

With now China starting up much more enthusiastic than HK a few years ago, would ISA HK/China not pay attention to this much bigger & greener market, where Arborists are warmly welcomed?

Thank you all again for your good support & ISA HK/China will bring you new heights in China very soon.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ISA HK/China --- CICTA BLS training syllabus

Dear Station Members,

Further to the Station Mail on the CICTA BLS training given below, please kindly find the syllabus of the training for your additional information. Please kindly note the first 2 classes are already full & the 3rd class is having limited vacancy for anyone interested to join.

As from the contents of the syllabus so shown, the BLS training is universal & practical for landscape workers, supervisors, management or anybody interested to learn how to conduct landscape work on site properly. It is a certification course & the credential given to the successful candidates will upgrade the image of the individuals & the company they work for. At present, landscape workers are not categorized in the construction worker registration scheme. The BLS credential will promote the status of the working individuals & may be favoured by clients for employment or contract administration in the near future.

Looking forward to anyone's participation in the BLS training program soonest.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager