Police in Hong Kong are battling to defuse a 1,000lb US World War Two bomb found on a building site after 1,300 people were evacuated from the area.
The explosive device was found 15 metres underground at a construction site for Hong Kong’s new £7.88billion ($11.17billion) Sha Tin Central rail link yesterday morning.
It is believed to have been dropped by US forces in the Second World War, during the Japanese occupation of the islands sometime between 1941 and 1945.
Experts claim it contains 225kg (496lb) of explosives and have worked overnight to secure the area before beginning the delicate task of dismantling it.
A policeman checks a 1,000lb World War Two bomb unearthed in Wan Chai District of Hong Kong island yesterday
Senior bomb disposal officer Tony Chow Shek-kin told the South China Morning Post the device is highly dangerous.
He said: ‘It could cause extensive damage. If the bomb explodes the force could affect the surrounding area within 200 metres, with fragments flying as far as 2,000 metres.’
The large cylinder ANM-65 device is 140cm-long, 45cm in diameter and weighs around 450kg (1,000lb).
After a construction worker first reported the device at 7.40am on Saturday, officers worked to clear the surrounding area – closing roads and evacuating 1,300 people from nearby.
Police spent five hours protecting the 400-metre area with sand bags yesterday, closing Hong Kong island’s Harbour Road around the famous Convention and Exhibition at Wan Chai.
Blockade forms at construction site for Hong Kong’s new £7.88billion ($11.17billion) Sha Tin Central rail link in the Wan Chai district of the island as bomb squad get to work
Ferry routes across Hong Kong’s iconic harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai have also been suspended.
It is not clear why the bomb operation has been delayed until today, but work began burning off explosive material from the device at around 11am local time (3am GMT).
Specialist officers prepared to burn two holes in either side of the bomb’s casing to burn off explosive material inside.
A plume of smoke was seen coming from the work site and was expected to last around three hours, reports the South China Morning Post.
This is not the first time an unexploded wartime bomb has been found in Hong Kong.
It is believed to have been dropped by US forces during the Second World War, during the Japanese occupation of the islands sometime between 1941 and 1945. Police are pictured guiding people away from the area
In January last year a 220kg (485lb) explosive device was found on a construction site at Pok Fu Lam on Hong Kong island.
The AN-64 model was smaller than this weekend’s bomb, containing 120kg (264lb) of TNT explosives.
Police said at the time they also believed it to be a remnant of World War Two.
According to bomb disposal expert Mr Chow, another one was found, this time an ANM-65-model, believed to be American, in 2004.
It weighed a staggering 900kg (1,984lb) and was found at the exclusive residential district Happy Valley in Wan Chai.
Senior bomb disposal officer Tony Chow Shek-kin told the South China Morning Post the device is highly dangerous. His team worked through the night to secure the area near Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Harbour