MTR service delayed, roads targeted as protesters push for border shutdown over Wuhan virus

University Station, where some objects were thrown onto the tracks in an apparent attempt to slow the rail link to the mainland border. Photo via Google Maps.
University Station, where some objects were thrown onto the tracks in an apparent attempt to slow the rail link to the mainland border. Photo via Google Maps.

Rail services linking the Lo Wu border checkpoint to Hong Kong were disrupted this morning as an apparent part of a general strike intended to push the SAR government to completely close its border with the mainland amid heightened fears over the Wuhan coronavirus.

Headline Daily reports that protesters targeted roads and rail lines, in one case hurling a burning object into the tracks of the East Rail line, which connects Kowloon with the mainland.

The disruption came a day after the government announced that the three largest ports of entry into the city, including Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, and Hong Kong International Airport, will remain open despite other measures to reduce the flow of arrivals from China.

Protesters had promised the “dawn of anti-epidemic” action earlier if the government did not close the border as part of its response to the virus, which has killed over 130 people, all of them in mainland China.

A flaming item was thrown onto the railway tracks near University station at around 7am, police said. The MTR Corporation later announced that trains on the East Rail line were running slower than usual as people were trespassing the tracks near the station, which is located near Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The corporation said its staff members spotted bamboo sticks and wooden beams on a section of track between Fanling and Sheung Shui stations at around 3am. A bicycle and a dumpster were also found on the track near Sheung Shui station at around 4:25am.

The railway operator also said a train running between Fo Tan and University stations at around 6am had to stop while staff cleared a traffic cone from the tracks.

Trains on the East Rail line were delayed running at about 10- to 15-minute intervals as of late this morning.

Meanwhile, in Shau Kei Wan, on Hong Kong Island, several black bloc protesters built roadblocks with trash and cardboard at the junction of Shau Kei Wan Road and Sing On Street at around 7:30am, Mingpao reports.

Similarly, in Shatin, protesters built roadblocks with dumpsters and debris on Lion Rock Tunnel Road, and smashed the windshield of a bus with a hammer at around 8am, HK01 reports.

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