Date
22 October 2019
Police arrested a 59-year-old man suspected of involvement in a fire at the MTR Mong Kok Station on Saturday.  Photo: Now News/MTR
Police arrested a 59-year-old man suspected of involvement in a fire at the MTR Mong Kok Station on Saturday. Photo: Now News/MTR

Man arrested over Mong Kok MTR Station fire

Police arrested a 59-year-old suspected of involvement in a fire at the Mong Kok MTR Station over the weekend. 

The man allegedly tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire but gave up at the last minute, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports

The incident took place shortly before 10 a.m. on Saturday, when an object was set ablaze at the ticketing concourse near exit E of the station.

A cleaner notified the station control room to send MTR staff to the scene after hearing the sound of a fire alarm. Police were also called. 

By the time MTR staff arrived at the scene, the blaze had already died out, leaving scorch marks on the floor.

No one was injured in the short-lived fire and operations of the station were not disrupted, although quite a number of passengers rushed out of the station from other exits after learning about the fire.

Expressing great concern about what happened, MTR said it was fully cooperating with the police investigation into the case listed as arson, adding that all of its stations would heighten vigilance.

Staff from the Fire Services Department (FSD) said the cause of the fire was suspicious. Initial probe led the FSD staff to suspect that newspaper had been burnt.

The recently established Railway Response Team (RRT) of the police force was sent to the scene to conduct an investigation.

The RRT came into operation on Dec. 23 to strengthen the police’s “counter-terrorism preparedness and make immediate intervention in terrorist attacks and other major incidents on the railway system”, according to the police’s newspaper Offbeat.

After checking CCTV footage, police looked for the suspect and arrested him at around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday in a flat at Un Chau Estate, a public housing project in Cheung Sha Wan.

The man, said to be unemployed, had no record of mental illness. He has apparently intended to set himself on fire, but shocked by the ball of fire he had created, he called off his plan and left the scene.

On the night of Feb. 10, 2017, a 60-year-old man poured flammable liquid on himself and passengers close to him before starting a blaze with a lighter on a Tsuen Wan line train that was heading to Tsim Sha Tsui from the Admiralty Station.

The fired injured 19 people and the man died three months after he was hospitalized.

EJ Insight supports efforts to help people deal with depression and related issues. Here is the 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline of The Samaritans: +852 2896 0000 (or email [email protected]).

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TL/JC/CG