Traumatised workers at a fruit-processing plant spoke last night about how a routine ride to work on the company bus turned to horror when a colleague launched a chopper attack that left eight people injured - one with her little finger cut off.
Still shocked hours after the attack, they said they felt trapped when the assailant, who they said was on his last day at work after being sacked, rose from his seat at the rear of the bus and started hacking at the heads and shoulders of passengers.
The attack stopped only when other passengers and the driver overpowered the suspect, Tsang Chiu-ho, known to colleagues as "Brother Ho".
"It happened all of a sudden. We were trapped in the bus and there was nowhere to escape," a 55-year-old, who suffered cuts to her head and right hand, told the South China Morning Post.
The drama occurred on the Yuen Long Highway shortly after the bus left Tuen Mun at 7.30am with 29 workers, mostly women, on board.
"We thought he was just tapping on people's heads and shoulders with a newspaper," an apparently unharmed woman told local media. "Then we realised it was a knife."
Hearing screaming at the back, the male driver stopped the bus in the middle of the highway, and with a male passenger wrestled the assailant down so that others could leave the vehicle.
The attack was "possibly due to work issues" and was "not like a stranger chopping at another stranger", Detective Superintendent Andrew Boulton said.
"Once he started the attack, the other passengers ... jumped up and they actually stopped him from attacking any more people," Boulton said.
The injured - seven women and a man aged 44 to 61 - were taken to Tuen Mun Hospital along with three others suffering from shock. The most seriously injured victim, the woman who had her finger cut off, was seen weeping with family members who visited her last night.
The suspect, who suffered light scratches, was described by police as appearing "quite calm" when he was arrested. His clothes stained with blood, he sat cross-legged in a police vehicle.
Labour and welfare minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said social welfare officials would provide help to victims' families.
There was no comment from Fresh-cut Produces.