Hong Kong’s MTR was down for about four hours today, as anti-government protesters prevented trains from leaving stations.
They started obstructing services on the Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O lines around 7.30am. Services at Tiu Keng Leng and North Point MTR stations came to a standstill as protesters prevented the trains from leaving by blocking the doors.
Some of the services on the Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, and Island lines were suspended as a result. They gradually returned to normal around 11.30am.
The disruption sparked confrontations between passengers and protesters during morning rush hour, although some commuters cheered for the demonstrators.
“I feel like it would be better if they used other methods to express their opinions. I understand that they are disappointed because of what happened in Yuen Long on July 21, but they might lose the public’s support because of this disruptive act,” a 16-year-old passenger surnamed Choi told Young Post.
Another passenger, surnamed Chu, 19, said: “Although some people may face disruption on their way to work, [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam [Cheng Yuet-ngor] is the culprit. I think the protesters just want the government to respond to their demands directly.”
She believed that if all citizens stayed united during the upcoming protests, there’s still a chance that the government may change its mind.
The protest came after violent incidents in Sha Tin station on July 14 and Yuen Long station on July 21, when the MTR company was criticised for neglecting passengers’ safety.
Yesterday, the protesters also handed out fliers calling for a citywide general strike on August 5.
Alan Cheng Kwan-hing, MTR’s general manager for special duties, said: “We understand some people want to express their views but we regret they did so by disrupting the train service.”
Cheng said there were 123 incidents of passengers pressing emergency buttons on platforms and in carriages on the Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Island and Tsuen Wan lines, in what he called attempts to obstruct trains.