Escalator accident at Hong Kong's Langham Place: Technicians arrested for tampering with mechanical parts

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18 injured as Langham Place escalator malfunctions by reversing its direction.

HONG KONG - Police in Hong Kong arrested two technicians from an escalator company, following the malfunction that left 18 people injured.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the two men were held by police on suspicion of having handled parts of the escalator that suddenly reversed on Saturday (March 25).

The two, aged 22 and 52, were arrested for allegedly attempting to pervert the course of justice. They have been released on bail but must report back in April.

The malfunction is believed to be due to a damaged driving chain.

It appears that a braking device had also malfunctioned in the incident on Saturday (March 25), SCMP reported earlier on Sunday, quoting Hong Kong's Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

Shoppers at Langham Place lost their balance and fell as the 45m-long escalator suddenly reversed direction, and 18 were hurt.

A woman who injured her leg in the accident said the escalator was moving twice as fast as usual.

More than 10 people piled up near the base of the escalator, a witness said.

Most escalators have safety devices to ensure they did not go into reverse, a lift and escalator engineer told SCMP.

Why these auxiliary brakes did not kick in would have to be investigated, he said.

The escalators were still cordoned off on Sunday.

A Langham Place spokesman said on Saturday that the escalator had just passed a biannual safety inspection on March 23.

It was installed by Otis Elevator.

The escalator links the fourth and eighth floors of the Mong Kok shopping mall on Argyle Street, and is one of the longest indoor escalators in Hong Kong.

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