A wartime bomb discovered on a construction site in Pokfulam was safely detonated by police on Monday night.

The 225kg (500lb) bomb was discovered by construction workers Monday morning near Middleton Towers, a dormitory for staff at the University of Hong Kong.

Photo: Hong Kong Police Force.

It was detonated by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD) in a controlled explosion late Monday night, according to RTHK. Police sealed off the road at 7:30pm and advised residents in nearby buildings to stay away from windows during the process to avoid potential injury.

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Bomb disposal experts cut two holes in the shell using water pressure and using special chemicals to burn away the TNT inside the shell. Then the fuses were detonated. It resulted in a loud noise and a flash of light at around 1:30am, i-Cable news reported. Afterwards, the empty shell was removed by staff.

Chow Shek-kin, Senior Bomb Disposal Officer at the EOD. Photo: Screenshot.

Senior Bomb Disposal Officer Chow Shek-kin told reporters that it was an American aerial bomb with the model number AN64. It was left behind in WWII, was found buried about 3m under the ground, and contained about 260lbs of yellow explosives, he said.

“As you can imagine, it fell from the sky, so many of the safety mechanisms are gone – which means it is a bit more dangerous. As of now, we have spent about 7-8 hours doing protective work, to surround the bomb and ensure that, if there is an accident, at least the damage would be minimised.”

Police preparing to detonate the bomb. Photo: Hong Kong Police Force.

If it had exploded, it would project shrapnel at least 2000 metres away, Chow said. After police surrounded it with sandbags and water bags, the area of damage was reduced to a 400m radius.

67 nearby residents were evacuated, police said. Traffic resumed at 3am.

In October 2015, a Japanese bomb was found at nearby Queen Mary Hospital. About 600 people were evacuated during the detonation.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.