Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of throwing a 17-metre handrail onto railway tracks, causing damage to an overhead cable and disrupting train services in Hong Kong on Sunday. The duo, aged 14 and 18, were identified and tracked down after officers spent three days checking CCTV recordings along 10km of cycle paths from Tai Po to Sheung Shui.
The 14-year-old boy, a secondary school pupil, was arrested at about 9pm on Tuesday at the public housing flat in Sheung Shui where he lives with his family. At the same time, police arrested the 18-year-old at his home in a Fanling village. He holds a British passport but also has a Hong Kong identity card.
Initial investigation showed the pair met up in Fanling in the early hours of Sunday before cycling to Tai Po. Officers seized two bicycles and the clothes the suspects were wearing.
At about 4am the pair stopped on a footbridge off Tai Wo Service Road East, near Kau Lung Hang, in Tai Po. “It was possible a section of the footbridge handrail broke off when they sat on it,” a police source said.
It was then hurled onto the tracks, landing on the overhead cables. The MTR was not running at the time but when corporation workers turned on the electricity, they detected a problem on the network.
Police were alerted at about 5am when staff found the handrail.
The incident forced a suspension of trains between Tai Po Market and Fanling stations for about an hour. The rail operator arranged temporary shuttle bus services for passengers. The MTR Corp completed repairs by about 6.15am before regular services gradually resumed.
As of noon on Wednesday, the suspects were being held at Tai Po police station for questioning and had not been charged.
In Hong Kong, criminal damage carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. In general, criminal liability in Hong Kong starts at the age of 10.