Small suspected homemade bomb explodes at Hong Kong hospital, no injuries

Small suspected homemade bomb explodes at Hong Kong hospital, no injuries

Riot police clear barricades as hong kong residents protest
Riot police clear barricades as residents protest against plans for an empty local housing estate to become a temporary quarantine camp for patients and frontline medical staff of a SARS-like virus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in the Fanling district in Hong Kong on Jan 26, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Philip FONG)

HONG KONG: A suspected small-scale homemade bomb exploded at a general hospital in Hong Kong on Monday (Jan 27), causing the temporary evacuation of some patients but no injuries, police said.

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

READ: Hong Kong declares Wuhan virus outbreak an 'emergency'

Hong Kong has been convulsed with demonstrations over the past seven months centred on its relationship with mainland China, with anger fuelled by what protesters see as growing interference from Beijing.

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

The explosive ordnance disposal unit "found a suspicious bomb inside a toilet, 15cm long, 10cm 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.

There have been calls by legislators, activists and a medical staff union in recent days for Hong Kong to shut the border with the mainland 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 inappropriate and impractical.

Hong Kong has so far confirmed eight cases of people infected with the virus, which has killed 80 people in mainland China.

Source: Reuters/nr