Fire attack on Hong Kong train injures 15
HONG KONG: Panic struck evening rush hour commuters on Hong Kong's subway system yesterday after a fire broke out in a passenger cabin, injuring at least 15 people and prompting the evacuation of a major station.
Videos circulating online showed chaos on the platform at Tsim Sha Tsui station, which serves a popular retail district, with parts of the cabin on fire and a man lying on the platform with his clothes ablaze as bystanders tried to help him.
"Passengers were asked to evacuate from Tsim Sha Tsui station," a police spokesman told AFP.
Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post reported that the incident happened after a man tried to hurl a petrol bomb.
A police source told the newspaper: "A man tried to hurl a lit Molotov cocktail (petrol bomb) on board a packed train when it was about to reach Tsim Sha Tsui platform, and he caught fire."
Anti-terrorism police officers, who were recently deployed to patrol the city's railway network for the first time to beef up security in response to global terrorist attacks, were sent to the scene.
Interior designer Ray Chau, 27, said he was travelling to Mong Kok when he heard the captain announce that all passengers would have to get off at Tsim Sha Tsui station.
He said: "I saw (fire) two compartments away. There was a lot of smoke because... smoke in one compartment quickly filled the entire train."
He recalled seeing a burnt victim on the platform.
"One man was completely on fire, his long trousers became shorts... He crawled and fell, others helped to put out the fire," he said.
Mr Chau said the platform resembled a terrorism scene as people scrambled to leave.
The South China Morning Post also said the police had arrested a 60-year-old man in connection with the incident.
The man had claimed to have started the fire for "personal reasons", with the police saying there was nothing to suggest the incident was a terror attack. - AFP, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST