A Find In May 2018
In May of 2018, a group of workers was digging in Wan Chai near Hong Kong. Their job was to start building a new rail link between Sha Tin in the New Territories and the Central District. It was a typical day until one of the workers came across something strange. Coming up from the ground was a bomb standing vertically. It wasn’t one of the modern weapons that are built in one of China’s 21st-century factories. It was a bomb from World War II that has been hidden for years. It was found in the soil not far from Wan Chai Swimming Pool.
Not The First Bomb
This find was shocking, but it wasn’t the first. Two other bombs had been found in Hong Kong that was diffused just a few months before the discovery near the swimming pool. Because nobody knew the bomb’s condition, but despite its age, it could be dangerous to everyone around. The first thing that the authorities needed to do was to get the people in the area to safety.
Hong Kong is its own administrative region in China. It has its own economic structure that is separate from China. It also has its own government. About seven million people are living in Hong Kong. The Wan Chai area is in north Hong Kong. It is also an essential area for business. Some areas are run down, which is why so much work has been taking place in the area. This is why the man who found the bomb was working in the area. The city officials believed that they could bring more business to the Wan Chai area was to build the Sha Tin to Central Link. They also planned to create a new station for Wan Chai, which is why the workers were digging there in the first place.
The bomb that was discovered was an American bomb. It was 5-feet long and 1.5-feet wide. During World War II, these AN-M65 bombs were used to destroy enemy dams and bridges. The massive explosion that they produced was capable of causing serious damage. The weapon found held about 500-pounds of explosives, which could have destroyed the entire surrounding area, and people as far as a mile away were at risk.
The bomb was in the ground, nose-first. It was about 40-feet down in the ground, which is why it remained hidden for over 70 years. Even though it was in the ground, it hadn’t exploded. When the bomb squad arrived, they discovered that the detonator was already broken, which was a good thing. They weren’t sure of anything else, so they decided to remove the soil around the bomb so that they could examine it thoroughly.
When the officer in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau reached the site, they started giving their orders. They wanted the surrounding roads closed down overnight. When the sun came up, nine streets in the busy area were blocked to traffic. Each day, the ferry services run from Wan Chai, but on this day, ferry services were canceled. Later that evening, locals, workers, and hotel guests had to evacuate the area around where the bomb was found. The authorities also closed down all of the nearby businesses. It was a huge undertaking, but it was necessary to protect everyone in the area.
Word Didn’t Reach Everyone
While most people heard about the evacuation, there were some who didn’t. These people left their homes in the morning planning to go to work, only to find that the roads had been closed. One woman was told that her work hours were changed because there were no open roads to get there.
A Complicated Job
It took all night for the police to dig the bomb out of the ground completely. When the shell was removed, the police had to defuse it. On officer said that they weren’t sure where to start, and it could be very complicated. Fortunately, they had diffused two similar bombs a few months before, so they had a bit of experience with this type of work. Although they had already diffused bombs like this one, it took 20 hours to complete the job.
Clearing the Mud
According to Nestor Lai Ngo-yan, a bomb disposal cop, making this bomb safe was difficult. It had been covered in mud for so long that it became tough. It took a while to remove the mud, and they had to be very careful doing it.
Back To Normal
When the bomb was diffused, things went back to normal. The thousands of people who were evacuated were able to go home. The streets reopened, and the ferry started running again. They even started digging again at the worksite as if nothing ever happened. The discovery of the bomb was inconvenient for many, especially those flying in and out of Hong Kong since the airports were closed. After a construction worker unearthed a deadly WWII relic, thousands in Hong Kong were evacuated. It was almost a full day before they could return.