More cameras urged to foil MTR gropers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am

A woman's group is calling for more surveillance cameras on MTR trains to protect female commuters from being groped.

Hong Kong Women Development Association said MTR carriages were becoming 'hotbeds of crime' during rush hours.

Train-groping has become a concern as police figures show a steady rise of reported incidents, from 98 in 2006 to 110 in 2009, while there were 148 reports last year, according to the association, citing police figures.

The number of upskirt photo-taking cases on trains and in stations also rose from 67 in 2006 to 80 in 2009.

An association spokeswoman said: 'As a major form of public transport in Hong Kong, the MTR records a passenger volume of 3.9 million a day ... the company should keep its security measures up to date to ensure passenger safety.'

An MTR Corp spokeswoman said closed-circuit TV cameras had been installed in some train cars running on East Rail and the Ma On Shan line. 'We have heard the views [of the association] and we shall convey them to relevant units for consideration.'

However, lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan expressed reservations, citing privacy concerns.

'There are many CCTV cameras in [public places] in Hong Kong. And the images captured are of very high quality,' said Ho, who proposed introducing women-only train carriages.

This month, a Legislative Council subcommittee endorsed a motion calling on the MTR Corp to try adopting women-only carriages.

But the company has resisted the idea, for fear of possible service delays, difficulties in enforcement and a possible breach of the sex- discrimination law.

Shame on rails

The number of cases of women being groped on MTR trains reported to police last year: 148