All convenience stores in MTR stations will stop selling lighters from March 1 after the firebomb attack on an MTR train earlier this month, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In the Feb. 10 incident, 19 people were injured when a man set off a molotov cocktail inside a crowded MTR train heading towards the Tsim Sha Tsui station.
After consulting professionals, the MTR management decided on the ban in a bid to lower the risk of fire inside the MTR railway system and promote the safety of commuters, Apple Daily reported.
Under Article 23A of the MTR by-laws, no lighter, cigarettes or flammable liquid may be set aflame within the MTR system. However, lighters are available at convenience stores in MTR stations.
Staff at a convenience store at the Admiralty MTR station confirmed that they have received notice to stop selling lighters from March 1.
A passenger surnamed Leung said the directive is useless because anyone who intends to commit arson in the MTR system can buy a lighter elsewhere.
Lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, who is vice chairperson of the Legislative Council’s transport panel, also said the order won’t stop an arsonist from getting a lighter outside the station.
It doesn’t make any sense, he said, because when there’s an arson case in a housing estate, “do you ban the entire district from selling lighters?”
Kwok said the MTR management should train personnel to be ready for any emergencies and install cameras on trains for monitoring purposes.
Following reports that the suspect in the MTR firebomb attack had personal and family problems, Kwok said the government should give more support to marginalized sectors of society, instead of putting the blame on lighters.
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