Asia

Elderly women die in Malaysian food coupons stampede

Malaysia skyline Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The event took place in a district in the capital of Kuala Lumpur

Two elderly women in Malaysia have died in a crush caused by a crowd jostling to get free food coupons.

Only 200 coupons were available but more than 1,000 people showed up at an indoor market in the Pudu district in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.

A security guard told local media he had heard "screams" and saw people "pushing each other".

Law Ion Nang, 78, and Ah Poh, 85, are believed to have suffered difficulty breathing while waiting their turn.

A management official of the Pudu Integrated Commercial Complex, where the event took place, told news outlet The Star that the event was to mark Lunar New Year, which occurs next week.

The coupons were being given out to elderly people.

She said a total of four people collapsed during the event.

A 62-year-old security guard also told The Star that only four people were allowed to go into the office at a time to register for the coupons.

"However, those who were queuing ignored the directive and they began pushing each other," said the unidentified guard.

Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Shaharuddin Abdullah told local media that both victims' bodies had been on the floor.

Mr Abdullah said there had also been "other elderly people who suffered from breathing difficulties".

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