World

Small homemade bomb explodes at HK hospital, no one hurt

HONG KONG: A suspected small-scale homemade bomb exploded at a general hospital in Hong Kong yesterday, causing the temporary evacuation of some patients but no injuries, police said.

The device exploded in a toilet cubicle at the Caritas Medical Centre at 2.30am local time, police said in a statement.

The explosive ordnance disposal unit "found a suspicious bomb inside a toilet, 15 centimetres long, 10 centimetres in diameter", police said.

"They took away the pieces of the suspicious bomb for further examination and evacuated around 20 people to a safe place. No one was injured."

The motive for the hospital explosion was not known.

The incident came after a group of protesters on Sunday set alight the lobby of a newly built residential building in Hong Kong that the authorities had planned to use as a quarantine facility, as fears grow over a coronavirus outbreak in China.

Before that, hundreds of Hong Kongers had blocked roads leading to the building with bricks and other debris, to protest plans to convert the building into a quarantine zone.

"We are dissatisfied with the government selecting this housing estate as a (quarantine) separation village as it is close to a residential area and a primary school," said a 28-year-old resident surnamed Tsang.

The authorities had said they would convert "Fai Ming Estate, an unoccupied public estate in Fanling, into temporary flats for quarantine and observation of close contact persons without symptoms if needed".

PROTEST

Following the protest, the government said it would "cease the related preparation work in Fai Ming Estate".

There have been calls by pro-democracy legislators, activists and a medical staff union in recent days for Hong Kong to shut the border with China to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Hong Kong on Sunday barred residents of China's Hubei province, the centre of the virus outbreak, from entering the city.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam last week dismissed a border closure as impractical. The city has so far confirmed eight cases of people infected with the virus. - REUTERS

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