MTR gives side on open-door claims

Top News | Charlotte Luo 23 Jul 2019

Train doors were not left open at Yuen Long Station open for people to attack passengers on Sunday night, MTR Corp operations chief Alan Cheng Kwan-hing said.

Rod-wielding people in white T-shirts stormed the station, hitting protesters, commuters and journalists, which left at least 45 injured.

Speaking on radio yesterday, Cheng said passengers were asked to leave the train because its doors were being obstructed and passenger alarm devices were being activated.

The train captain alerted the operations control center about the situation, and the suggestion from there was that the captain asked passengers to disembark.

The captain was not aware of fighting at the time.

But when the captain did report that people were fighting, the center arranged for the train to leave the station once the doors could be closed.

Cheng offered his sympathies to those who were injured.

He said the police took "quite some time" before arriving at the scene, and added that it was the force's decision to close the station earlier.

He also said four ticket gates at the station were damaged by water.

After being cleaned overnight, the station resumed service yesterday morning and the MTRC deployed more security staff at stations along the West Rail line.

The MTRC's chief executive, Jacob Kam Chak-pui, said once the rail operator knew about the violence it no longer asked passengers to leave the train.

Instead, it arranged the train to leave the station immediately.

Kam said the rail operator can only rely on police when large-scale issues occur in stations.

He said the company will hold discussions with police on how to handle the situation better in future.

He also strongly condemned the violence at Yuen Long Station and expressed "deepest sympathies to passengers who were injured, and I feel sorry for what they experienced."

An MTRC spokesman said the operations control center called police at 10.47pm after receiving a report from a staff member about the situation at the Yuen Long Station.

According to records at the station, police officers arrived at around 10.53pm to obtain more details of the situation and fully equipped officers appeared at around 11.15pm.

"The MTR staff members who were on duty at the station at the time did their best to cope with the challenging situation," he added.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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