Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

Hong Kong bomb squad safely defuse wartime bomb on city landfill site

Shell, believed to have been fired from a US Navy ship, was so thick that it took the bomb disposal team nine hours and three attempts to safely detonate the device

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 2:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 2:13pm

Bomb disposal officers, in an operation that took nine hours, successfully defused a wartime bomb found in a Hong Kong landfill site on Friday.

The object was discovered at the rubbish dump off Wan Po Road in Tseung Kwan O shortly before noon, according to police.

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Police described the shell, 23cm in diameter, as being in good condition from the inside, however, due to its ageing, the risk of detonation was described as being high.

The thickness of the shell made the job of making it safe difficult and it took the police three attempts to defuse the bomb.

The projectile was originally fired from a US Navy ship, making it different to the previous explosives uncovered in Wan Chai which were dropped from planes.

“We identified it as being 9.2 inches, highly likely being shot from a naval gun from somewhere in Hong Kong. But because the mud was dredged from somewhere else, we have to further identify where it was from,” Raymond Suryanto Chin-chiu of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau said.

“It took us three attempts [to defuse the projectile], because of the thickness of the shell,” the spokesman added, adding it was “10 times thicker” than the Wan Chai device.

As police started work to defuse the shell, planes were temporarily stopped from flying over Tseung Kwan O. No injuries were reported during the operation.

Officers from the force’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau led the successful operation using explosives to defuse the projectile.

Firefighters were on standby at the scene, a police spokeswoman added.

The incident follows the discovery in May this year of two 450kg wartime bombs at a building site in Wan Chai in the space of a week, causing thousands to flee their offices and disrupting traffic. Bomb squad officers spent 50 hours in total defusing those shells, which were dropped by American planes when the city was under Japanese occupation.