Suspect in Hong Kong bomb scare under police watch in hospital

Source says woman suspected of planting bomb-like object on Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront believed to be mentally unstable

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 9:51pm

The woman believed to have been involved in Tuesday’s bomb scare at a busy shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui was on Wednesday under police guard at a public hospital, sources from the force said.

She was suspected of planting a bomb-like object on the waterfront outside a restaurant at the Harbour City mall at about 2.30pm. The bomb scare led to the evacuation of 600 shoppers.

Police said the suspicious object turned out to be an alarm clock stolen from a toy shop in the area.

A police source said the woman, 18, was believed to be mentally unstable and had been sent to hospital after complaining of feeling unwell at home. It was understood she had not been arrested.

Fake bomb prompts evacuation at top Hong Kong shopping mall

“Officers are guarding her in hospital. She will face arrest when she is fit for an interview,” the source said.

Another source said investigations had shown the woman had a habit of abusing drugs, and officers were looking into whether she had been under the influence when she stole the object and left it at the waterfront.

Surveillance cameras captured a woman dressed in black dropping the item near the side entrance to the cruise terminal. It was later found by a security guard.

The place was cordoned off and police evacuated about 600 people from the mall and surrounding area. Bomb disposal officers and firefighters were called in.

A robot was deployed to check and blow up the device in a controlled manner, and officers confirmed at 3.49pm that it was a fake. The mall was then reopened.

According to police, the suspicious object was created using seven paper rolls tied together with electrical cables and a timer, but no explosives were found.

A bomb threat carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$150,000. Tsim Sha Tsui divisional commander superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan said police had not received any warning or threat beforehand.