Date
25 September 2018
A second wartime bomb (inset) was unearthed at a construction site for the Wan Chai Exhibition Centre Station of the MTR Shatin-Central Link project on Wednesday. Photos: HKEJ/HK Police Force
A second wartime bomb (inset) was unearthed at a construction site for the Wan Chai Exhibition Centre Station of the MTR Shatin-Central Link project on Wednesday. Photos: HKEJ/HK Police Force

Second wartime bomb found in Wan Chai defused, roads reopen

Another World War II vintage bomb was unearthed in Wan Chai on Wednesday, the second to be found in less than a week in the district, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Police finished defusing the second bomb on Thursday morning, and said roads were being reopened gradually following the evacuation and traffic chaos resulting from the discovery.

The bomb is believed to have been dropped by the US army as part of air raids on Japanese military positions in Hong Kong during World War II.

It was the second bomb to be found since Saturday when a similar one was discovered near Convention Avenue and Tonnochy Road, where there is a construction site for the Wan Chai Exhibition Centre Station of the MTR Shatin-Central Link project, HKEJ said.

Police officers and experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau arrived at the scene soon after the bomb was reported at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday and took safety precautions.

The streets, commercial buildings and private housing estates within a radius of 400 meters were cordoned off. Those affected included Harbour Centre, Sun Hung Kai Centre, Blocks A, B, and C of private housing estate Causeway Centre and the Wan Chai Sports Ground, among others.

As of 9 p.m. on Wednesday, about 4,600 people in the area had been evacuated, with the Home Affairs Department allowing them to take shelter at the Wan Chai Activities Centre.

Several main roads in Wan Chi North were closed while 27 bus routes were diverted in light of the discovery. Transport officials warned that traffic was expected to become congested and advised motorists to avoid the area completely.

The ferry from Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui had been suspended since Wednesday afternoon.

Bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter said the second bomb was of US design.

McWhirter explained that although the two bombs were of similar size and model, the latest to be discovered was more unstable as its detonating device had been seriously damaged.

He also pointed out that the site was not a flat ground, and rain would make it even harder to be defused.

But bomb disposal experts were able to completely burn off the explosives inside the bomb at 10:45 a.m.

Roads in the area were being reopened. By Thursday morning, the ferry from Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui also resumed service.

Sources said bomb experts found it harder to deal with the latest bomb than with the one found on Saturday, which took them 26 hours to defuse.

So Yiu-kwan, a civil and structural engineer, suggested that the MTR suspend construction work for the SCL completely because it is possible to unearth more bombs from under the ground. The rail operation has not agreed to the suggestion yet.

It is speculated that more wartime explosives could be found in the area, which used to be part of a beach where Japanese warships anchored during the war.

Professor Siu Kwok-kin, director of Centre for Hong Kong History and Culture Studies of Chu Hai College, said many Japanese warships were berthed at Victoria Harbour at the time and they were main targets of US air raids.

While he believes that more unexploded bombs could be unearthed in the area, Siu does not want to speculate on their number and locations.

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TL/JC/CG

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