'Vandal Attack' Shows MTR Is Vulnerable: Lawmakers

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2019-02-10 HKT 16:24

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  • A power cable for the East Rail Line was damaged in Tai Po on Sunday. Photo: RTHK

    A power cable for the East Rail Line was damaged in Tai Po on Sunday. Photo: RTHK

  • Legislators say it should not be so easy for people to be able to throw objects onto MTR lines. Photo: RTHK

    Legislators say it should not be so easy for people to be able to throw objects onto MTR lines. Photo: RTHK

Lawmakers have called for measures to protect the city's rail network after suspected vandalism caused disruption to the East Rail Line on Sunday morning.

A 17-metre-long handrail appeared to have been ripped from a footbridge in Tai Po and thrown onto a power cable.

While the disruption came very early in the morning and lasted under an hour, some lawmakers said it highlighted how vulnerable the MTR network is if someone is intent on causing damage to it.

The DAB's Ben Chan, who chairs Legco's Transport Panel, said the MTR or the government should put up physical barriers around footbridges over rail lines, to stop people throwing anything onto the tracks.

Neo Democrat Gary Fan, who is on Legco's railways subcommittee, suggested MTR patrols on footbridges and CCTV cameras in areas where people could carry out acts of sabotage.

"This behaviour is not acceptable because it will trigger serious damage to the railway and to the safety of passengers," Fan said.

"The railway company should take action immediately. And in the long-run, the MTR and the government should also think about turning footbridges [by railway lines] into enclosed areas to prevent criminals from throwing any objects onto the railroad."

But Lam Cheuk-ting from the Democratic Party said no matter how high a fence is put up around rail lines, people will get things over if they are determined to.

He said the police should be given more time first to find out exactly what happened in Tai Po.

Officers were seen checking the handrail for fingerprints and they had classified the case as criminal damage.

The MTR Corporation, meanwhile, reminded people that it is never a good idea to throw objects onto high-voltage cables.