There were 13 casualties after a 60-year-old man set himself on fire on a Hong Kong metro train during evening rush hour on Friday (10 February). The man, surnamed Cheung, has been detained and police believe he acted alone.
The train was halfway between Admiralty and Tsim Sha Tsui stations when Cheung self-immolated, RTHK reported. Videos passengers fleeing the flaming carriage in the aftermath at Tsim Sha Tsui station have been shared on social media.
One shows Cheung standing on the station platform burning as other passengers look on. Another shows him lying on the floor with his legs on fire as others desperately try to put out the flames by beating his lower half with their jackets.
Eventually they succeeded in extinguishing the fire but Cheung was left semi-unconscious and with severe burns. Meanwhile head-high flames engulfed the train compartment which appeared to have been evacuated.
"This is an individual incident, there is no evidence now this is a terror attack. We believe he was blabbering... the things he was saying was not very coherent," said Yau Tsim, District Commander Kwok Pak-chung.
Some 160 police officers were deployed to the station along with 16 fire engines and 18 ambulances. Emergency services queued up on Nathan Road outside the station to attend to the wounded and fight the blaze while police cordoned off the surrounding area. The injured were carried out of the station on stretchers by paramedics and volunteers and taken to nearby hospitals.
The incident occurred at 7.14pm local time and the station was immediately evacuated. Tsim Sha Tsui station remained closed and the Tsuen Wan line was disrupted while the rest of the metro ran a normal service.
"The smoke came from nowhere and spread very quickly – I just took a photo then I had to use my jacket to cover my nose," passenger Grace Yip told HKFP.