The carpenter stood dumbfounded as the powerful automated table saw cut through his left hand.
Mr Li Yuan Jun's hand was a bloodied mess within seconds. Two of his fingers and thumb were lying on the floor next to him.
His co-workers at the workshop informed their boss, Mr Wilson Chan, who was in an office upstairs.
Mr Chan, 40, took Mr Li to the nearest hospital, Parkway East Hospital, about a 10-minute drive from their premises at Defu Lane. But Mr Li's ordeal on July 15 was far from over.
After he arrived at the private hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department at about 1.30pm, it was a long wait before he knew the fate of his hand.
Mr Chan was in a dispute with the hospital over payments for the operation to reattach Mr Li's fingers and thumb.
He was upset that he was told to pay $30,000 before the surgery could proceed, and later went onto the hospital Facebook page to complain.
The hospital, however, said the financial counselling for Mr Li's surgery took only about 30 minutes before it decided to proceed after obtaining a small deposit from Mr Chan.
Mr Li, 46, said of his accident: "I was so stunned that I didn't shout or cry.
"I was just thinking 'hurry, hurry' (to get it fixed). My hand didn't look like a hand any more."