MTR steels itself as thieves turn to bar vending to make easy cash
First it was manhole covers, then drain covers. Now thieves are targeting the steel strips used at gates at the entrances of MTR stations.
Five have been stolen in the past two days. In the latest case, staff at Yau Ma Tei Station yesterday found a two-metre steel strip missing at one of the entrances.
A strip is worth about HK$3,000.
A spokeswoman for the Mass Transit Railway Corp said: 'The steel [cover] is used to fill in the gap between a pair of guided rails. The rails are used for sliding [metal] folding gates when our staff open and close entrances. We place the [protector] there so passengers will not trip if their feet accidentally get caught in the gap between the rails.'
Police said it was the fourth incident reported to officers in two days.
A police spokeswoman said: 'We have received four reports involving five steel bars between September 12 and 13. The bars were stolen from three MTR stations in Kowloon.'
The MTR Corp spokeswoman said security measures would be stepped up. 'We have already lost five this month and we have sought help from the police. We have replaced all steel [strips] at once after the incidents and we will increase our patrolling frequency to check on them.'
According to police, there were 1,974 reports of metal goods being stolen last year and 1,889 in the first eight months of this year.
In February 2004, drug addicts and scavengers were suspected of stealing manhole covers and gratings to sell as scrap metal on the mainland.
In Yau Ma Tei, 96 drain covers were stolen from a park at the corner of Jordan and Canton roads, while 11 were taken in Kwun Tong and 28 from outside the Po Lam MTR station on Mau Yip Road in Tseung Kwan O that month.