Police have launched an investigation after a public bus operator complained that its passengers may have been targeted in deliberate attacks by some miscreant.
Kowloon Motor Bus Co. (KMB), one of Hong Kong’s licensed bus operators, said on Thursday that some bus passengers had reported that they suffered injuries due to needles planted in the bus seats.
There had been three incidents where needles were found sticking out of the seats of double-decker buses, according to the company.
The first case was reported from a 41A KMB bus as it was traveling from Tsim Sha Tsui to Tsing Yi sometime after 6 pm Wednesday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports..
When the bus was cruising near the intersection of Nathan Road and Wing Sing Lane, a female passenger discovered a sharp metal object piercing her bottom while she was on her seat.
Later that night, a woman on a route 48X KMB bus heading for Tsuen Wan from Who Che in Sha Tin suffered a somewhat similar injury, with a needle piercing her thigh.
Another incident came to light at around 9 am on Thursday, when a passenger found a needle planted in a seat on a route 81 KMB bus, which was traveling from Who Che to Jordan. Fortunately, the passenger escaped without injury.
At a press conference Thursday, KMB deputy operations director Patrick Pang Shu-hung said the company is extremely concerned about what happened, and that it reported the matter to the police.
“Maliciously wounding or inflicting bodily harm to others is a very, very serious offence,” RTHK quoted Pang as saying.
Pang said all of the three needles were embedded in the upper-deck seats on the left side of the buses, according to media reports.
In the two cases where passengers were injured, the wounds were minor and the victims had received medical treatment.
To ease public concern over safety on KMB buses, Pang revealed that each double-decker bus is equipped with nine security cameras.
He added, meanwhile, that the police will try to identify the culprit by going through video footage obtained from the three buses in question.
Frontline staff has been reminded to carefully inspect buses before they are put into service, Pang said. He also urged passengers to be extra cautious and report to bus captains if they notice any suspicious acts or items.
After those three cases were reported by KMB on Thursday, there was yet another such incident on Friday morning.
According to HKEJ, at around 6 am, a man found a pin stuck to a rear pocket of his pants.
The passenger noticed the metal object after he got off a route 17 bus that traveled from Oi Man Estate to Kwun Tong. Luckily, he was not hurt as a wallet in the pocket shielded his flesh.
The man informed the bus captain, at Yue Man Square Temporary Bus Terminus, of the incident, telling the captain to report the matter to police.
The incidents this week may not be the first of their kind as several photos uploaded to the web in January and February this year showed needles planted in seats.
The photos were reported to have been from KMB buses plying the routes 81 and 47X, but no injury was reported at that time.
Pang admitted that KMB was aware of the photos but said the bus operator did not file a police report at that time as the company was not sure of the veracity of the claims.
The photos surfaced online but no one informed the company directly about the needles, the executive said. The bus company, however, asked its staff to pay attention to the matter.
Following the latest incidents, a family physician, Cheng Chi-man, advised the public to seek medical help immediately if they are injured by a needle.
The doctor warned that the metal objects may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to infections such as tetanus.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Chong
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