HONG KONG - Man declaring would burn passengers to death, set off a firebomb on a crowded MTR train during Hong Kong’s evening rush hour on Friday. This attack injuring at least 18 people and spreading chaos among panic-stricken commuters.
The attack on the Tsuen Wan Line as the train was pulling into Tsim Sha Tsui station shortly after 7 pm forced authorities to shut down one of the city’s busiest transport interchanges, as the platform was turned into a triage zone for shell-shocked victims requiring first aid.
“A man tried to hurl a lit molotov cocktail (petrol bomb) on board a packed train when it was about to reach TST platform and he caught fire,” a police source said.
The suspect said “burn you to death” before he drew the bottle and lit it, a police source said.
Yau Tsim District Commander Kwok Pak-chung said a 60 year old man, Cheung Kam-Fai, was arrested in connection with the incident. He claimed to have started the fire for “personal reasons”.
Kwok dismissed suspicions that it was a terrorist attack, saying so far there was no such evidence, but said they would not rule out any possibilities in their investigations.
“Our initial investigations show the incident has nothing to do with (terrorism),” he said, adding that 160 police officers were deployed. The Fire Services Department deployed 130 officers.
The man was badly injured and was transferred from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Jordan to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, where he was said to be in a critical condition.
It is understood that the suspect, who is married with one son and one daughter, had been arrested in the past in connection with minor offences such as gambling.
A police source said initial investigations showed he had a poor relationship with his family and had disputes with his wife, and officers believe the move was prompted by his personal and family problems.
Police are investigating whether he wanted to attack the other passengers or tried to set himself alight. Government chemists will examine the affected carriage at the MTR depot in Tsuen Wan.