A 60-year-old man with suicidal intentions created havoc at the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station at busy hour, Friday night the 10th of February, leaving 18 people injured, four of whom are in critical conditions.
According to a preliminary investigation by the HK police, the suspect arsonist poured flammable liquid onto himself and others before setting it alight. He had started the blaze aboard the first compartment of the Tsuen Wan line train as it crossed from Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty at 9.12am. He used newspapers, a lighter and a bottle of mineral turpentine, causing an explosion.
Close to the arsonist there was one of our friends, Luca, working for a large American organization in Hong Kong, who had received some medical training in Italy, serving for 6 years as a volunteer with the Red Cross. Luca told us that he was disconcerted and upset by the behavior of the public, seeing a lot of young people shooting photos and films with their phones, then posting them on the FB, instead of helping the wounded and the people who were trying to escape.
Then some journalists arrived and they also quickly set to shoot people, even to those down on the floor with burns, thus creating obstacles to the firemen and paramedics.
He told us: “Such behavior reminded me of jackals rather than human beings and it could not be justified by their duty to report facts. The Police should not allow them to shoot close ups of people laying down in pain with burns – including the suspect – because in so doing they are adding nothing to the facts, but just want to made a show of it.”
While getting out of the MTR Luca received hundreds of What’s ups and SMS by friends and colleagues, who had seen him moving giving first aid to the wounded and were worried that he might also have been hurt. The police should make clear to the people that such behavior will not be tolerated because not only create obstacles to the responders but constitutes a breach of the privacy for people affected and not wishing to appear in FB or Instagram.