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Hong Kong Arsonist Arrested After 18 Injured In Subway Car Fire

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Hong Kong authorities have arrested a man for arson after a fire broke out in a subway car during rush hour Friday in a busy tourist district, injuring 18 people, two of them critically.

Police said there was no evidence to indicate the fire was a terror attack. Police District Commander Kwok Pak-chung said the 60-year-old man told rescuers as he was being taken to a hospital that he was the one who set the fire, and that he had done so for an unspecified personal reason.

hong kong subway arson
Items of evidence are seen cordoned off on the floor inside the Tsim Sha Tsui train station in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on Friday after an incident involving a fire earlier in the evening.

"He was incoherent,'' Kwok said, adding that police believe he used a flammable liquid.

Videos circulating on social media showed a chaotic scene of a fire inside the subway car and a man lying on the platform as people frantically used clothing to try to put out flames on his pants.

In addition to the two in critical condition, six others were in serious condition, and 10 were stable, police said. The injured included seven males and 11 females, but the information provided by the government did not indicate whether it included the suspect.

"He was incoherent.''

Hundreds of police and firefighters responded at 7:14 p.m. to the fire, which shut down the busy Tsim Sha Tsui station in downtown Kowloon.

Such incidents are rare in Hong Kong, a wealthy Asian financial centre that has a reputation for being safe and has relatively little violent crime.