About half of Hong Kong MTR trains have no CCTV; calls for safety rethink after firebomb attack
MTR operations director admits half of city’s trains not fitted with CCTV, as company forms investigation panel into handling of incident
In the aftermath of Friday’s shocking firebomb attack that left 19 people injured, it has emerged that about half of Hong Kong’s MTR trains are not fitted with CCTV cameras, prompting the chairman of the government’s transport panel to call for a full review of surveillance measures on the system.
Following the incident at Tsim Sha Tsui station, MTR operations director Adi Lau Tin-shing on Saturday said CCTV cameras were not installed on the train involved, nor on trains that came into service before 2004.
Transport minister Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the MTR Corporation had formed an investigation panel to study how the blaze was handled and possible improvement measures.
“New batches of CCTV-equipped trains would arrive and be ready for service in 2018 at the earliest,” Lau said. An initial report would be submitted to the government in about a month.
Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Legislative Council’s transport panel, urged the MTR, which caters for some 5 million commuter journeys each day, to install CCTV cameras on all trains and review its surveillance systems immediately.
“If there was CCTV on the train, the MTR staff would have known what happened immediately and have the fire extinguishers ready by the door before the train arrived at the platform,” Tien said.
Yesterday, one more passenger sought medical attention, bringing the total number of injured to 19. Last night, the man was in a stable condition.
Three people remained in a critical state as of 5pm on Saturday, including a Taiwanese female traveller and a 26-year-old woman, surnamed Lam, while three others were in a serious condition, four were stable and nine had been discharged. The youngest victim of the attack was 15-year-old Audrey Ko, who suffered burns to her legs. The Form Four student at St Paul’s Co-educational College was in a serious condition on Saturday.
The attack suspect, Cheung Kam-fai, who allegedly murmured “burn you to death” on the packed train before he lit a bottle of flammable liquid, was still in a critical condition in Prince of Wales Hospital on Saturday night.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said Cheung suffered from a mental illness. The Hospital Authority confirmed that Cheung – who was diagnosed with delusional disorder in 2007 – was due to undergo a check-up but missed his appointment on the day of the attack. It is understood that he lived with his wife and son in Chai Wan. Police contacted the family yesterday as part of their investigation.