Shoppers in Causeway Bay received a fright on Sunday when an elevator carrying eight passengers suddenly plummeted four storeys in five seconds.

The incident happened at around 1pm in Times Square Tower 1. Elevator P3 reached the 18th floor before a loud noise was heard, plunging passengers downwards into free fall. The passengers repeatedly pressed the emergency button for help and were trapped for around 10 minutes. A female passenger reported feeling unwell but none were sent to hospital.

Times Square, Causeway Bay. Photo: Wikicommons.

This is the second time Times Square has been in the limelight for such incidents in the past week. Steps on an escalator broke at the shopping mall sparking discussion on social media about the safety of escalators in Hong Kong. No one was injured.

Mrs Mak, one of the trapped elevator passengers, said that the staff stayed on the intercom with them throughout the incident, reassuring them that they have notified technicians. “I ran out [once the elevator door opened]… I took a different escalator down, cancelled my date and went home,” she told local media.

A Times Squares spokesperson said that they were very concerned about the incident and have spoken to elevator contractors, as well as the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, about carrying out a detailed investigation into the matter. All of the mall’s escalators and elevators are reportedly checked and maintained by contractors once every two weeks. A preliminary inspection showed that the cable was not damaged; it was suspected that some parts of the machinery had malfunctioned, triggering the backup safety mechanism and bringing the elevator to a halt.

The elevator resumed service at around 2pm.

Last month, a mother was crushed to death saving her son in a horrific shopping mall escalator collapse in China.


Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.