22 March 2019
The shuttle bus traveled directly to Huanggang without stopping at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint. Photos: Panoramio, TVB
The shuttle bus traveled directly to Huanggang without stopping at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint. Photos: Panoramio, TVB

Longest MTR ride to Shenzhen: bad luck comes twice in one day

Twelve MTR passengers crossing the border on Thursday ran into two unfortunate incidents that caused them serious delays and forced them to return to Hong Kong.

Their first encounter with bad luck began in the morning, when services of the East Rail Line was disrupted by a burst water pipe between Fanling and Sheung Shui station, Apple Daily reports.

As a section of the rail track got flooded, MTR Corp., the railway operator, immediately deployed free shuttle buses to help transport travelers to the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint so they could enter Shenzhen.

Because of the emergency dispatch, a driver who was not quite familiar with the route was called in to operate one of the shuttle buses.

The 62-year-old driver, surnamed Choi, took the shuttle out of Tai Po Market Station at around 3 p.m. and headed for Lok Ma Chau, with an MTR employee accompanying him to show the way.

For some reason the employee alighted at Tai Wo Station, and the shuttle continued its trip to Lok Ma Chau with the 12 passengers.

Then the bus proceeded directly to Huanggang in Shenzhen without heeding an order by customs officials to stop at the Hong Kong checkpoint.

Asked by some passengers why he did not stop, the driver explained that he lives on Hong Kong Island and has never operated the cross-border route before.

The shuttle was stopped by mainland police in Shenzhen moments after the driver realized he made a mistake and tried to find the way back to Lok Ma Chau.

As a result, the driver and the 12 passengers were detained for three hours in Huanggang before they were sent back to Lok Ma Chau, where the driver was arrested by Hong Kong police for entering a restricted zone without a permit.

The passengers were not able to cross the border until later that night. The MTR management apologized for all the inconvenience and delays.

A mainland passenger on the bus simply sighed, saying he couldn’t believe he ran into bad luck twice in one day.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Water Supplies Department said the broken water pipe, which is used to convey water from East River to the Tai Po Tau pumping station, is unlikely to affect water supply in the city, but could not say when the pipe would be fixed, Ming Pao Daily reported.

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