Hundreds of hotel guests, Sikh Temple worshippers evacuated after discovery of suspected wartime bomb in Hong Kong

Sandbags placed around the bomb.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Hundreds of hotel guests and temple worshippers in Hong Kong's Happy Valley are being evacuated following the discovery of a suspected wartime bomb.

Police said a worker uncovered a bomb at noon on Saturday (Feb 29) at a construction site at Sikh Temple along Hau Tak Lane. A police source said the bomb was about 1.5 metres in length, and could take hours to handle. Officers were seen using sandbags to cover the device.

At 2.30pm, 154 guests at Emperor Hotel on Queen's Road East were evacuated.

A senior police officer said guests in another two hotels along the same road could also be asked to clear the area.

The nearby Tang Siu Kin Hospital closed its gates as a precaution.

About 200 worshippers at the temple were also evacuated in the afternoon, with a religious relic there temporarily removed for safety.

Part of Wong Nai Chung Road was also closed. A police source said a section of Queen's Road East near Happy Valley would be closed after 5pm.

Temple volunteer Gurcharan Singh said: "We were informed by police at about 11.30am that they had discovered explosive objects at the construction site, and we were asked to evacuate.

"It's the third time a bomb has been found here, we are used to it."

Most people at the temple were attending a pre-wedding prayer session. The ceremony was put on hold until the late afternoon.

In February 2014, a 907kg unexploded bomb - an AN-M66 - which contained 450kg of explosives, was discovered by a worker during excavation work there, sparking the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from nearby hotels, offices and flats.

The bomb was the biggest of its kind dropped on Hong Kong by US bombers during the Japanese occupation of the city in the second world war.

Additional reporting by Christy Leung

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.