Police in Hong Kong battled for over 12 hours 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 contained 225kg (496lb) of explosives and worked overnight to secure the area before beginning the delicate task of dismantling it.
It was successfully defused at 1pm local time today (5am GMT). No one was injured.
A policeman checks a 1,000lb World War Two bomb unearthed in Wan Chai District of Hong Kong island yesterday. It was successfully defused at 1pm today (5am GMT)
Senior bomb disposal officer Tony Chow Shek-kin told the South China Morning Post the device was highly dangerous.
He said: ‘It could have caused extensive damage. If the bomb exploded the force could have affected the surrounding area within 200 metres, with fragments flying as far as 2,000 metres.
‘The whole process was quite complicated. It took a bit longer than we expected.
‘Once we cut the first hole, we realised it would be difficult to cut holes in other areas … as some angles were harder to approach.
‘Because the bomb was so big, we had to cut several holes to burn off the explosives inside. The space was tight and the bomb was also slanted at an angle.’
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 Centre 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 were also suspended.
Work began burning off explosive material from the device at around 11am local time (3am GMT) and was completed by 1pm (5am GMT).
The empty shell was then taken to the bomb squad’s headquarters for examination.
Specialist officers burned holes in either side of its casing to burn off explosive material inside.
A plume of smoke was seen coming from the work site, reported the South China Morning Post.
This was 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 was highly dangerous. His team worked through the night to secure the area near Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Harbour before successfully defusing it at 1pm today
This weekend’s bomb was believed to have been dropped by US forces between 1941 and 1945 when Hong Kong and its surrounding islands were occupied by the Japanese.
With Nazi Germany at the height of its power, US-backed China battled the Japanese, who were allied with them and Mussolini’s Italy.
America embargoed the sale of oil to Japan and desperately tried to fight off the enemy with other economic sanctions – but to no avail.
On December 7 1961 Japan launched a broad offensive across the Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia, which included attacking the US naval base Pearl Harbour.
As part of the wider Pacific campaign, Imperialist Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong the day after on December 8 1941.
British, Canadian and Indian forces backed the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Forces in a bid to resist a Japanese invasion.
Fierce fighting ensued through the New Territories, Kowloon and eventually Hong Kong itself.
On Christmas Day 1941, known as ‘Black Christmas’ to locals, British officials surrendered, at the Japanese headquarters.
Three years and eight months of Japanese occupation followed, until they surrendered on September 2 1945, bringing World War Two to an end.
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 in Harbour Road, Wan Chai yesterday morning