Explosives 'caused phone-box blast'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 12:00am

A blast that damaged a public phone box in Tuen Mun on Sunday was probably caused by explosives, a police source said yesterday.

The explosion ripped open the telephone's metal case and damaged the circuit board in the Pacific Century CyberWorks' HKT booth at the junction of Tin King and Ming Kum roads.

A woman on a nearby footbridge said she had seen smoke billowing from the booth at 10.30pm after hearing a blast. No one was injured.

'An initial investigation showed the explosion was unlikely to have been caused by a mechanical fault or short circuit because only low voltage is required in the pay phone,' the police source said.

'So we suspect explosives might have been used and burned out in the blast. If it was an explosive, it must not have been high-powered - and a small quantity was used.'

The damaged phone has been taken to bomb-disposal experts in Wan Chai for examination.

HKT had not received any threatening calls before or after the incident, the source said, adding there was no evidence it was linked with other bomb cases late last year.

Officers investigating a car explosion in Yuen Long in November have taken charge of the probe into the latest blast.

An HKT spokesman said the phone was last inspected this month and no problems were found. 'Our technical staff have told us it is impossible a short-circuit could cause our pay phone to explode. But for safety, we will inspect all 2,000 [same-model] phones this week,' the spokesman said.

On December 2, a bomb exploded in a telephone booth at the junction of Carnarvon Road and Cornwall Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui.