Date
14 October 2019
An anti-government protester vandalizes a light rail MTR station during a demonstration in Yuen Long on Oct 5 after authorities announced a ban on face masks under emergency law. Photo: Reuters
An anti-government protester vandalizes a light rail MTR station during a demonstration in Yuen Long on Oct 5 after authorities announced a ban on face masks under emergency law. Photo: Reuters

MTR to close service at 8 pm today

MTR Corp resumed train services on Tuesday but some stations remained closed in the wake of large-scale vandalism of its facilities by anti-government protesters over the long holiday weekend.

The rail operator said in a press release that some stations, including Mong Kok, Whampoa, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O, will not open as they suffered “serious vandalism”.

The company said damaged facilities and station entrances/exits in other stations also need time to repair.

Given the massive repair work needed, train service will be ended at 8 pm today, several hours early compared to the normal schedule. 

MTR, which carries about 5 million passengers a day, was forced to shut down in an unprecedented move after arson attacks on Friday night and only partially operated during the weekend, with protesters again setting stations ablaze and destroying ticketing machines.

The closures largely paralyzed transportation around much of the territory.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement early on Tuesday that “a large group of masked rioters repeatedly committed destructive acts extensively”.

ATMs, Chinese banks and scores of shops were vandalized during violent protests over the long weekend, some of which drew tens of thousands of people.

Many restaurants and malls closed early over what is typically a very busy holiday period.

That followed the decision by authorities to impose a ban on face masks, which protesters use to protect their identity, on Friday under colonial-era emergency powers.

Residents awoke on Tuesday to anti-police graffiti and streets littered with broken bricks and metal barricades from weekend clashes, during which police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to subdue violent protesters. With Reuters

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