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Hong Kong silent for ferry victims

Hong Kong residents are mourning the deaths of 38 people, including one Briton, in the city's biggest maritime tragedy in decades.

People across the southern Chinese city dressed in black and fell silent for three minutes at midday as they started three days of official mourning.

A utility company's boat carrying more than 120 people collided with a ferry on Monday night and partly sank off the island of Lamma.

More than 100 people, mostly on the boat, were injured. Initial suspicions on the cause of the collision have focused on human error.

The accident is also further damaging mainland China's image in Hong Kong, after a Chinese official's appearance raised eyebrows.

Hong Kong is a former British colony that came back under Beijing's control 15 years ago but retains a high degree of autonomy.

The company that owns the ferry has said the vessel passed an inspection just last month.

The general manager of Hong Kong and Kowloon Holdings said the inspection of the Sea Smooth indicated no problems.

The other boat was taking about 120 people to watch fireworks in Victoria Harbour when it collided with the Sea Smooth and partially sank.

Police have arrested four crew members from the Sea Smooth and three from the Lamma IV on suspicion of operating their craft unsafely.

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