In an act of public prostration rarely seen since the fall of the last imperial emperor, a woman got down on all fours and kowtowed for almost three minutes on the MTR last week after being asked to take her electric bike off the train.
According to Apple Daily, the bizarre and uncomfortable confrontation between the woman and a clearly confused MTR staff member took place on the Kwun Tong line last Thursday after 10pm, though video footage of the incident was only shared online over the weekend.
An eye witness who spoke to Apple Daily, said the woman had been asked by the male staff member to leave the train as it was against the rules to bring her non-folding electric bicycle into the carriage.
But, rather than comply or argue she chose another route — begging for “mercy” after throwing herself at the feet of the MTR employee, whom she referred to as “emperor” and “your highness”.
At points, she can be heard yelling “I need to go home! Kowtowing hurts! Please help me carry this (bike)!”
The MTR staff member repeatedly tells her to calm down but with no luck.
He then calls for backup — code kowtow — getting on his walkie talkie to request help.
The woman continues: “I can’t read! Please your highness! I never went to school!”
As the train pulls in at Ngau Tau Kok station, the pair get off the train and the woman can be heard saying: “My life is going to end soon! My throat hurts!”
Video of the fracas has been viewed more than 256,000 times, and shared more than 1,800 times, with netizens commenting “that MTR guy looks scared” and “no one’s dying, why the hell is she bowing?”
Bikes are not allowed on the MTR unless they’re of the fold-up variety, and under the Road Traffic Ordinance, all electric-powered vehicles must be registered and licensed by the Transport Department.
She’s not the only person who tried to bring an electric vehicle onto the MTR, earlier this month a mainland man determined to make the most of his Labor Day celebrations took his electric tricycle to the road after MTR staff said the trike was not allowed.