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A video of a man plunging to his death in a sinkhole in the city of Shenzhen, a few kilometres north of Hong Kong, has been posted online.
CCTV footage shows 25-year-old security guard Yang Jiabin walking in the city's Futian district when the ground suddenly opens beneath his feet.
Yang disappears into the hole, which reportedly measured five metres in diameter and 16 metres in depth.
Police arrived but Yang was already dead, reports said.
City authorities were looking into the theory that the collapse might have been caused by heavy rains dislodging old water pipes running beneath the surface, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported.
A building for the newspaper's parent company, Shenzhen Press Group, is being built just metres away from the sinkhole.
Local residents have repeatedly complained about tremors caused by construction works, South China Morning Post reported.
Nearby residents left their homes in fear of further sinkholes opening up.
Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, is home to more than 10 million people. Sinkholes have been reported in the area before. In the provincial capital of Guangzhou, several buildings were swallowed up in January by a sinkhole measuring 300 sq m across.
No one was injured but power was cut to about 3,000 homes.
Poor development plans rushed through in China's property boom have been cited as one of the causes of the increasing number of sinkholes reported in China.
According to Business Insider almost 100 collapses were reported in Beijing alone in July and August 2012.