Date
22 November 2017
Visa-related services were suspended at the US consulate on Monday after some suspicious white powder was found on the premises. Police later said the substance was not hazardous. Photo: HKEJ/Screen shot of TVB News video clip
Visa-related services were suspended at the US consulate on Monday after some suspicious white powder was found on the premises. Police later said the substance was not hazardous. Photo: HKEJ/Screen shot of TVB News video clip

Suspected anthrax powder at US consulate false alarm

Hong Kong police have confirmed that a small amount of unidentified white powder found at the US consulate general was not hazardous substance.

There is no reason to believe the powder was left by someone intentionally, the police said, calling the incident a misunderstanding.

The incident took place at about 9 a.m. on Monday when the consulate opened to accept visa applications, Apple Daily reports.

An employee found some white powder in the groove of a service counter and reported it to the police, suspecting it might be anthrax, a deadly biotoxin.

While waiting for the police to arrive, the consulate evacuated all applicants and suspended all visa-related services as a precaution.

Specialists arrived at the complex in Central, along with firefighters and paramedics.

The police later said the unidentified white powder was not hazardous. The material was taken away for tests.

In-house security footage showed six people filing their documents at the counter before the power was detected. The last person in line was a man, police said.

An investigation is under way to find the source of the power.

In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for the consulate said the incident has been resolved and apologized for the inconvenience caused to visa applicants and visitors.

The consulate is open as usual Tuesday.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

TL/JC/RA

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