Date
31 March 2017
Guests were evacuated from the BP International Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui after a bomb threat. Police found LPG gas canisters and timers inside a male washroom on the first floor. Photos: Google Maps, RTHK, Apple Daily
Guests were evacuated from the BP International Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui after a bomb threat. Police found LPG gas canisters and timers inside a male washroom on the first floor. Photos: Google Maps, RTHK, Apple Daily

Falun Gong delegates evacuated as bomb scare hits TST hotel

More than 1,600 people, including members of the Falun Gong meditation group, were evacuated from a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel on Sunday after police received a bomb threat.

A box containing LPG gas canisters and timers was found inside a male washroom on the first floor of the BP International Hotel on 8 Austin Road, but a police bomb disposal unit said the objects did not constitute explosives and classified the case as a bomb hoax, Apple Daily reported.

Police said a man called the emergency hotline 999 at around 11 a.m. on Sunday, saying bombs had been planted at the hotel.

Police locked up three storeys of the building, and evacuated people from the basement, the hotel lobby on the ground floor and the first floor.

Among those affected were 1,200 members of the Falun Gong, who were having an annual meeting at the hotel’s banquet room. The meditation group is banned in mainland China.

The bomb disposal unit uncovered five cans of pressurized LPG gas and two timers inside a gift box at a male restroom about 50 meters from where the Falun Gong was holding its gathering.

The delegates moved to Kowloon Park to continue their meeting after the incident.

Representative Zhou Weidong assailed the interruption of their meeting.

Zhou said the meeting faced disruptions even before the bomb scare, with protesters chanting anti-Falun Gong slogans and holding banners and placards outside the hotel.

He also said they had to stop three people who tried forcing their way into the meeting room by saying they wanted to use a toilet nearby.

Shortly after that, they were told by police to leave the building because of a bomb threat.

The meeting is held once a year with members coming from Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries, Zhou said.

Hotel guests could not go back to the hotel until 5 p.m., when police finally gave the all clear. Some said they were considering transferring to another hotel amid safety concerns.

Under the Public Order Ordinance, it is a crime for a person to communicate any information with the intention of inducing other people to believe that a bomb is present in any place.

Those found guilty of the offense could face a maximum penalty of HK$150,000 fine and five years’ imprisonment.

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EL/AC/CG

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