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Hong Kong police

Hong Kong bomb disposal hero gets well-deserved salute for cold courage

  • The Hong Kong bomb disposal officers’ premeditated courage seems to be taken for granted
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 11:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 11:02am

It was with pure delight that I saw Police Superintendent Adam Roberts, bomb disposal officer, voted the RTHK Backchat Person of the Year 2018.

Lord Ashcroft, who has the largest collection of Victoria Crosses in the world, and studies bravery, sums up the bravery of bomb disposal experts such as Roberts in an article in the Sunday Telegraph dated September 10, 2011: “I have concluded that bravery essentially falls into two categories: spur-of-the-moment courage and ‘cold courage’. I have nothing but admiration for those in the former category, but I am even more in awe of those who routinely display premeditated courage, just as our bomb disposal experts do on a daily basis.”

The UK bomb disposal officers and their units are some of the most decorated units in the British Army, yet the Hong Kong bomb disposal officers’ premeditated courage seems to be taken for granted, as not one has received a bravery award.

Mr Roberts defused the 1,000lb (about 450 kg) bomb in Happy Valley in 2014, then in 2018 he played a major role in defusing the two 1,000lb bombs found in Wan Chai within the same week, and many more bombs of all sizes in between.

In 2018, however, he took on additional personal risk during the defusing process to ensure both 1,000lb bombs were defused safely. I believe it is the first time in decades – or ever – that two 1,000lb bombs have been defused by the same bomb disposal officer in the same city within days of each other.

Hong Kong’s female bomb disposal officers on blazing a trail

It is wonderful that the RTHK listeners voted for Roberts as the Person of the Year 2018, while the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau was awarded a (Police) Commissioner’s Unit Commendation for team work defusing the two very dangerous 1,000lb bombs. I firmly believe that Roberts’ premeditated courage as a bomb disposal officer is well worthy of an individual bravery award.

Neil Dunn, Kowloon