HONG KONG - At least 15 people were injured in a fire that broke out on a Hong Kong train at the popular Tsim Sha Tsui station on Friday evening (Feb 10), after a man who declared he would burn passengers to death threw a petrol bomb, Hong Kong media reported.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) said police had arrested a 60-year-old man in connection with the incident. The man had claimed to have started the fire for “personal reasons”, and police said there was nothing to suggest it was a terror attack.
The SCMP also cited police as saying that the man had reportedly said "burn you to death”, before lighting the petrol bomb.
The train had been travelling from Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui on the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway's (MTR) Tsuen Wan Line when it caught fire, local media said.
The incident triggered chaos among rush hour passengers and prompted the evacuation of commuters from the station, the RTHK reported. It said multiple casualties were seen carried out in stretchers.
The SCMP said at least 15 people were injured and taken to hospital. It cited police as saying that the man had attempted to throw the petrol bomb just as it was reaching the Tsim Sha Tsui train platform when he caught fire.
“According to our preliminary investigations and the statements of the injured, we suspect there was a resident (who) had lit combustible agents,” deputy chief fire officer Yau Chi-on told reporters.
A government spokeswoman told AFP that of the 17 injured, two were in a critical condition. Yau said the victims suffered serious burns and had inhaled harmful fumes.
Videos of the incident circulated on social media showed a man with his pants on fire lying on the floor of a packed train platform as nearby passengers frantically attempted to put out the fire using their clothes. Flames could also be seen inside the train's cabin.
RTHK said the fire was later put out by subway staff.
Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying expressed his concern for the injured and asked the relevant departments to fully investigate the incident, the government said in a statement.
Travel on the Tsuen Wan Line was disrupted following the incident, the MTR said. It added that trains would no longer stop at Tsim Sha Tsui.
"Severe delay on Tsuen Wan Line due to smoke on train at Tsim Sha Tsui. Consider other transport means," the MTR posted in a Twitter update at 7.23pm.
WARNING: VIDEOS CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
The Tsim Sha Tsui station remained closed as of 9pm, the SCMP said. Police officers carrying bomb disposal equipment and anti-terror police were also deployed at the station, it said.