Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that he was “a fan of railway services without any reservations” at the opening ceremony of the South Island Line (East) on Monday.

“Since the railway is not only fast and reliable, but also environmentally friendly and comfortable, it is the ideal type of public transport. Therefore, I am very excited to witness the launch of the Kwun Tong Line extension and South Island Line (East), which make Hong Kong’s railway network more comprehensive,” he said.

Leung chun-ying
Leung chun-ying. Photo: GovHK.

Leung added that the commencement of the new MTR line is “something that everyone has been looking forward to,” as it will offer convenience to residents of the southern district when the Aberdeen Tunnel is congested.

Frederick Ma Si-hang
Frederick Ma Si-hang. File

Leung did not respond to media questions as he left.

The chair of MTR Corporation Frederick Ma Si-hang said that although Leung will no longer be the Chief Executive next year, MTR staff will remember Leung’s contribution to railway development, including mentioning the opening of the MTR Academy during his policy address.

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Before the ceremony began, members from the League of Social Democrats protested outside the soon-to-open Ocean Park station against rising MTR fares, and called on the government to buy back the metro company. Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung was ejected from the room for shouting slogans during Ma’s speech.

Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: LSD.

The South Island Line connects Admiralty station to the southern part of Hong Kong Island, including Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons, with an estimated 11 minutes of travel time between Admiralty and South Horizons.

Lawmaker Michael Tien Pak-sun said he was concerned that, as the station becomes busier, the waiting times for boarding already-crowded trains will become even longer during rush hour. He previously drew backlash after suggesting commuters should work late in order to avoid crowds.

mtr south island line
The South Island Line. Photo: MTR.

The South Island Line is due to open next Wednesday.

koel chu

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.