• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:11am
NewsHong Kong

Fury after dog killed on MTR tracks because rail bosses refused to halt services

Protests hit stations and tens of thousands sign petition as anger builds at corporation's decision to resume services while stray was on tracks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 1:26pm

The MTR Corporation yesterday faced a wave of protests, including an online petition signed by around 80,000 people, after it failed to prevent the death of a stray dog on its East Rail Line.

The animal was killed at around 10.30am on Wednesday morning, just 30 minutes after staff at the Sheung Shui MTR station failed in a brief effort to remove the stray who had wandered onto the lines.

Watch: Death of dog on MTR tracks sparks outrage in Hong Kong

Services were suspended for six minutes during their attempts, which included dangling a chair over the edge of the platform. But when those failed the MTR control centre said services had to resume.

The animal, which had run down the track towards the next station, Fanling, was then hit by intercity T801 from Guangzhou.

The incident sparked outrage from people who asked why more of an effort had not been made to help the dog.

Yesterday, activists staged protests at locations including Fanling MTR station, close to where the dog was killed, and the company's headquarters in Kowloon Bay.

Five activists associated with the People Power political party attempted to jump onto the tracks at the station in the New Territories, but were stopped by security, according to witnesses.

Other protesters left bunches of flowers and pet food on the platform in remembrance of the dead animal.

"We cannot let another 'Little Yue-yue' incident happen in Hong Kong," said Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion, referring to a widely publicised incident in Guangdong in 2011 when Wang Yue, the two-year-old victim of a car accident, was ignored by throngs of pedestrians.

Online, people expressed anger and dismay, and a petition calling for an official MTR explanation quickly gained around 80,000 signatures.

Many questioned why staff members had failed to help the dog; others wondered if such a tragedy would be repeated.

A Facebook-organised event to mourn the dog is scheduled to take place tomorrow at Sheung Shui station.

The MTR said last night it supported animal protection and that staff had attempted to coax the dog to safety.

But the dog had remained elusive and could not be located even after staff at Fanling station ordered an incoming train to stop to enable a search.

The dog was found dead after the train was allowed to depart, it added.

A spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the MTR had no mechanism to deal with such a situation.

"We understand the MTR is under pressure to keep the trains running on time," Michael Wong said. "But it didn't alert the [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department] which could have been able to help.

"The AFCD have tranquiliser guns which would have made saving the dog easier.

"It's a terrible way to die."

But Wong said such incidents did not happen very often and this was the only animal known to have been killed on the railway lines in recent years.

"The MTR has a good mechanism to keep animals off the rails," he said, in contrast to its apparent lack of a plan for when animals did get on the tracks.

  • Click to go to the petition demanding an official explanation from the MTR over dog's death on tracks (Chinese), (English)


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This article is now closed to comments

1. Call SPCA or AFDC and wait...30 minutes...60 minutes...suspending services on both directions causing severe disruption;
2. Order an employee to go and catch the dog barehanded and risk injury or disease;
3. Make an public announcement request for an animal lover to volunteer to do the same ;or
4. Resume services and hope for the best.
The MTR did the right thing.
I assume to go on the tracks they would have to cut the power?
This is the problem in HK right now. If they stopped the train people go crazy. If they keep it going people go crazy. People of HK just complain about everything.
Giving the dog a chair isn't going to help.
Sadly, most Hong Kongers are too afraid of actually interacting with the dog. If the trainlines were stopped, couldn't someone have gone and picked up the dog.
Have driven past strays plenty of times overseas, just let them in the car and take them to a rescue, they're as confused and scared as you'd be if you were stuck on a train line.
The idiots at the MTR have done it again. They should have stopped the whole service for an hour, let the SPCA person come to rescue the dog, take some nice shots, and the whole city will praise the MTR for going beyond the call of duty to rescue a poor animal and ripe some much needed PR bonanza. Now, if I am the attorney general in any US states, the head of operation of MTR will be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
WHY would they give the dog a CHAIR? ridiculous
All I have to say is that whoever is in charge there must be somewhat mentally deficient aside from being unfeeling. They didn't even call the AFCD? STUPID!!! And it wouldn't take much more than 2 brain cells rubbing together to realize they would have a public relations disaster over the situation. How would dangling a chair down help the dog btw? Do they think the dog can grasp it like a human and pull itself up? STUPID!!!!
For animal lovers, this is cold blooded murder. In Hong Kong, people pay very little attention to animal welfare. Hong Kong is a very sad city today which lacks compassion. If my dogs are in the same situation, no one in Hong Kong will care. Just thinking about this makes me want to cry. How did we end up this way?
The bottom of the article links to an example in New York when officials shut down subway services for two hours after two kittens fell on the tracks.
Should've been simple. Place the chair down, back off. Should be enough to let the dog jump out as long as you stop staring at it. I'm sure any veterinarian could've done the same. Guess not everyone knows about canine psychology.
No one at MTR dare to make the decision to stop services to rescue the dog. Typical of what HK has become. It is a no win situation.
The only solution is for SPCA or someone to deliberately go onto the track. This will then stop service.
But that person will then be hauled before the court.
MTR must come up with a policy and guideline on this.



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