Date
13 December 2017
Investigators say this makeshift power pack caused explosions and set the cardboard box (inset) on fire. Photos: i-cable news
Investigators say this makeshift power pack caused explosions and set the cardboard box (inset) on fire. Photos: i-cable news

Exploding makeshift battery pack prompts MTR evacuation

Hundreds of MTR passengers were evacuated after explosions filled several compartments of a Central-bound train with sparks and smoke.

No one was seriously injured but most of the 600 passengers were shaken, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

They were evacuated during an emergency stop in Sham Shui Po as smoke began to envelop several cars.

A man suffered minor burns on a finger during the chaos. He refused to be taken to hospital.

Police traced the explosions to a makeshift power pack on a bicycle for a speaker system complete with an amplifier and booster, according to Sing Tao Daily.

A 46-year-old scavenger, surnamed Lam, had boarded in Kwai Fong station with the bicycle, investigators said.

They said a leak might have caused the batteries to ignite, triggering explosions and setting the box on fire.

Lam told police he scavenged the batteries in Kwai Chung to power his bicycle speakers.

He was served with a prosecution notice by the authorities who said he also has a previous drug conviction, the report says.

Lam could be fined up to HK$2,000 (US$258) for breaking MTR regulations.

The incident revived safety concerns amid complaints about lax maintenance and security. In 2014, a 65-year-old man set fire to an MTR train, injuring 14 passengers. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Also, the incident reignited a public debate over the rail operator’s luggage policy which some claim is too restrictive.

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TL/AC/RA

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