Hong Kong’s MTR closes half of its stations to prevent damage to facilities and reduce risks to human lives
- Closures start early in the morning with 47 of 94 stations closed by 11pm
- Federation of Railway Trade Unions vice-chairman Tam Kin-chiu praises swift move, hoping normal services will be resumed on Wednesday
Hong Kong’s embattled MTR Corporation on Tuesday closed half of its 94 train stations to prevent damage to its facilities and reduce risk to its passengers and the staff.
“The MTR emphasises that the consequence of arson attacks is very serious...We strongly condemn these unlawful acts that totally disregard the safety of passengers and MTR staff. We have reported the incident to police,” it said.
As the day progressed, it was forced to close stations one after another as protesters rampaged through its facilities at Tsim Sha Tsui, Yuen Long and some Light Rail stations.
Two full lines – Tsuen Wan and Ma On Shan – were suspended before 7pm. By 11pm, 47 out of the MTR’s 94 stations were closed.
“No frontline staff could be harmed by the protesters’ radical actions, while the damage done to the station facilities was relatively less,” he said. “We welcome the MTR Corp’s quick decision. If it hadn’t closed the stations, the consequences would have been much more serious and damaging.”
As the damage inflicted on the rail facilities was less severe than it had been on other days of protest, Tam was confident MTR services could be fully resumed on Wednesday.
“The damage to the Light Rail stations is more serious and it will take some time for the maintenance staff to inspect and fix the outdoor track. Still, at least 80 per cent of the Light Rail service should be normal on Wednesday,” he said.
“The MTR’s shutting down of stations will not stop the protests,” Karl said, while returning home to Kowloon after taking part in the protests on Hong Kong Island.
“Even if the Star Ferry was closed, I would have swum across the harbour,” he said.