Unexploded Bomb in Hong Kong

There was a large bomb disposal operation on the afternoon of January 27th, at a Wan Chai construction site. Hong Kong police evacuated more than 1,300 people, which included residents, hotel guests and office workers, after they discovered a 450 kg (1,000 lbs) wartime explosive bomb.

The unexploded bomb was a ANM-65 device,  a remnant from the second World War. It was predicted to have been air-dropped by American bombers between 1941 and 1945. As the front detonator was damaged, moving the bomb would have posed danger. Therefore, the police dismantled it at the scene.

The  process was comprehensive from start to finish. Using sanding and pressurised water, they cut holes in the cigar-shaped free-fall bomb in order to incinerate the explosive material inside. As the bomb was big and some angles were harder to approach, the police needed to cut several holes to burn off the explosives inside. No one was injured as it was safely removed from the site at last.

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A large bomb disposal operation was carried out at a Wan Chai construction site by Police Force and bomb disposal expert. (Image: Sina)

Where did the wartime bombs come from?

This was not the first discovery of a wartime unexploded bomb in Hong Kong. It was believed that most bombs were dropped during the Pacific War at 1945. The US Navy dispatched near 500 planes to attack Hong Kong, dropping 150 tonnes of ordnance which includes around 15 bombs in different weight. That time was the biggest bombardment suffered by Hong Kong. Most of the wartime bombs were dropped by US Navy, with a small number by British and Japanese military.

It is predicted that more unexploded wartime bombs could be buried which were not yet discovered. During the past five years, at least 35 discoveries of munition at Pok Fu Lam,  Ma On Shan and Stanley were recorded. Half of the discoveries were on Hong Kong Island, including Wan Chai and Pok Fu Lam. The British Royal Naval base taken over by the Japanese was located at Admiralty. This made heavy bombing occurred around the Victoria Harbour.

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More unexploded wartime bombs could be buried which were not yet discovered. (Image: BBC)

Could the wartime bomb explode even after being buried for such a long time?

A misconception exists that unexploded bombs are less powerful as time passes. However, this is not the true case. In fact, the bombs become more dangerous and less stable. They failed to explode at wartime mainly because they had manufacturing flaws or did not hit the ground with a strong force. They are not simply wartime relics nowadays.  As the years go by, impact of climate changes, vibration and detonator erosion combines to make it a rather dangerous item. 

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