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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Hong Kong honours actors
Andrew Lau (left) with Eric Tsang
Andrew Lau wore a mask to protect him from Sars

Crime thriller Infernal Affairs and Oscar-nominated martial arts film Hero dominated the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday, winning seven awards each.

Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong's biggest box office hit last year, landed the best film, director and actor prizes.

Hero, China's entry for best foreign film at this year's Oscars, picked up best cinematography, art direction and original film song.

But the event was marred by the death of Leslie Cheung, who killed himself in Hong Kong last week.

The 46-year-old actor and singer was nominated in the best actor category but the award went to Tony Leung for his role as a police spy in Infernal Affairs.

Cheung was one of the first Asian stars to take on openly gay roles in his films, including his most famous peformance in Farewell My Concubine in 1993.

The film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Awards organisers honoured Cheung with a rendition of one of his songs at the start of the ceremony. Clips from several of his films were also played.

The celebrations were also tempered by some of the audience wearing surgical masks in the wake of the Sars virus, which has killed 22 people in Hong Kong.

Both presenters and award winners, including best actor Tony Leung, paid tribute to the health care workers dealing with the virus.

"On behalf of Hong Kong's showbiz industry and the public, I salute our medical workers," comedian Eric Tsang said, bowing and thanking the doctors and nurses.

"We are proud of you."

Other awards went to to Lee Sin Je, who won best actress for her performance in horror film The Eye, with Korea's romantic comedy My Sassy Girl winning best Asian film.

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