Robbers hit building site for subway, delaying opening

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 December, 2004, 12:00am

The opening of a Shenzhen subway station has been postponed after the construction site was raided by a gang of armed robbers.

The Gouwugongyuan station, outside the Shenzhen Exhibition Centre and a few blocks from the new Shenzhen government office, was to have opened on December 28.

Two dozen armed men burst into the unfinished station on Thursday and stole all the building materials on the site - which was protected by only a few security guards.

'They told us not to move and started to loot the place. They even took away the escalator and six steel pillars,' one construction worker said.

The robbers went back the site twice in the afternoon to continue their looting.

The Southern Metropolis News said it would take at least seven days to build a steel pillar.

It estimated construction work on the station would be delayed by at least a week.

Yesterday, security guards at the site said that they were aware of the robbery but could do nothing about it because they were understaffed.

'We don't have many people and we can't patrol every place. In the past it was just stealing.

'I never thought they would be crazy enough to rob us in broad daylight,' said one of the security guards.

One construction worker said other subway station sites had also been looted in recent weeks.

'A few days ago they robbed another construction site just a few kilometres from here. I heard they even sent in a crane to lift their loot onto trucks. It's completely lawless,' he said.

Shenzhen Metro said it was aware of Thursday's incident but a spokesman refused to confirm if its construction timetable would be affected.

Police said they were investigating the case and had asked the construction company to hire more security guards.

Shenzhen's subway system is supposed to open this month but many parts of the system are still being built.