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Hong Kong police

Bomb disposal officers detonate small artillery shell found along Hong Kong hiking trail in Tai Tam

Explosive no larger than a soda can was found by trekkers and promptly secured

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 March, 2018, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2018, 11:12am

Hong Kong bomb disposal officers detonated an artillery shell found by trekkers on Saturday along a popular hiking trail in Tai Tam.

Police said the bomb was found around distance post C4107 on Tai Tam Country Trail near Hong Kong Parkview housing estate at about 2pm.

The force confirmed it was a British-style mortar shell from around the second world war, about 300mm long and 81mm wide. The bomb was initially reported to be no larger than a 330ml soda can.

Officers from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau arrived at the scene at about 4pm to conduct a controlled explosion. The operation began at about 5pm. The area within a 100m radius was cordoned off for the detonation.

The operation was successful, and the area was reopened in the early evening.

Why does Hong Kong have so many buried wartime bombs?

It was not the first time a bomb was found in the vicinity.

In April 2015, bomb disposal officers destroyed three wartime shells left by the Japanese army on Violet Hill in Tai Tam Country Park. They were discovered by three military enthusiasts with metal detectors.

Bombs have also been found in other places across Hong Kong.

Most recently, in late January, two bombs weighing 450kg (1,000lbs) – which were believed to be dropped by US forces during the second world war – were discovered at the construction site of the Sha Tin-Central MTR rail link in Wan Chai.

It took officers a total of 50 hours to remove the devices found 27 metres below ground. Up to 6,300 people were evacuated from the surrounding areas and businesses were suspended.

How did two American-made bombs from the second world war end up in a Hong Kong subway construction site?

About six months ago, bomb disposal officers defused a 46cm armour-piercing bomb, left by the Japanese army after the war. It was discovered by workers at a construction site next to North Point Ferry Pier.

In January 2015, officers carried out a controlled explosion of four wartime grenades and one mortar on a slope along Black’s Link in Aberdeen Country Park. The weapons were found together with 54 rounds of ammunition, police said.

In February 2014, a 900kg US wartime bomb was unearthed on a Happy Valley construction site, sparking the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from nearby hotels, offices and flats.