Dozens of railway stations vandalised by protesters over weekend, says Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation, warning some services may not resume by Monday

03-Sep-2019 Intellasia | | South China Morning Post | 7:24 AM Print This Post

Violent anti-government protesters in Hong Kong damaged as many as 32 railway stations on Saturday and at least 12 on Sunday, the MTR Corporation revealed, warning that some services may not be able to resume on the first day of the new school term.

Hong Kong has been rocked by 13 consecutive weekends of protests sparked by the now-shelved extradition bill but demonstrators have also vented their anger at the rail giant, which they accuse of working in favour of police and the government.

There could be more disruptions on Monday as protesters have proposed launching a non-cooperative movement at Lai King, North Point and Kowloon Tong train stations and at other major transport links.

The MTR said the vandalism had been reported to police and stressed that endangering railway safety could constitute a serious crime and a breach of a court injunction order that restrains people from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of stations and trains.

Facilities at Mong Kok station were also targeted. (South China Morning Post)

Facilities at Mong Kok station were also targeted. (South China Morning Post)

“The corporation expresses its anger over such irresponsible and malicious acts which could have caused serious safety incidents and endangered the safety of passengers, and also expresses its deepest regret over MTR staff being harassed,” it said.

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It said some of the stations might not be able to resume their operations on Monday – when the new school term begins.

The government also issued a statement severely condemning the “vandalistic and illegal acts of the violent protesters” on Sunday. It said the protesters totally disregarded the needs of travellers and members of the public. Their acts were “barbaric and outrageous”, it said.

On Sunday, protesters trashed Tung Chung station, smashing up the control room, dismantling CCTV cameras and jamming turnstiles so they could get in without paying.

They also hacked at fire hoses to flood the station and spray-painted graffiti, leaving fearful MTR staff watching on helplessly.

Aside from Tung Chung, at least 11 other stations had suffered damage, including Tsing Yi, Kwun Tong and Diamond Hill, by 10pm.

The firm said CCTV cameras and ticket issuing machines were vandalised, while some protesters took away fire extinguishers and defaced stations.

“A large group of people trespassed into the area of the station control room at Tung Chung station, which threatened the safety of the station staff. The staff, therefore, were required to evacuate,” its statement read.

The MTR added that a door at the station control room in Tsing Yi was targeted. People also trespassed or threw objects at a section of track on the Airport Express near the Airport station, it said.

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Due to safety concerns, the Airport Express, Tung Chung line and Disneyland Resort line had to be suspended on Sunday, the company added.

Tensions between protesters and the MTR escalated after Chinese state media warned the company against any attempt to facilitate “rioters” in destabilising actions.

The vandalism on Saturday was even more serious, with facilities at 32 stations – about a third in those on the rail network – severely damaged. Services on five lines – Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island, South Island and Tsuen Wan – had to be suspended at night.

The corporation said engineering staff had conducted temporary repair work, but Prince Edward and Mong Kok stations would have to remain closed on Sunday.



Category: Hong Kong

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