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18 injured in Hong Kong subway fire

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire broke out in a subway car in Hong Kong during rush hour in a busy tourist district, injuring 18 people, two of them critically.

Police said there was no evidence to indicate the fire was a terror attack.

The 60-year-old man told rescuers as he was being taken to hospital that he was the one who set the fire, and that he had done so for an unspecified personal reason, police district commander Kwok Pak-chung said.

"He was incoherent," Mr Kwok said, adding that police believe he used a flammable liquid.

Videos circulating on social media showed a chaotic scene of a fire inside the subway car and a man lying on the platform as people frantically used clothing to try to put out flames on his trousers.

In addition to the two in critical condition, six others were in serious condition, and 10 were stable, police said.

The injured included seven males and 11 females, but the information provided by the government did not indicate whether they included the suspect.

Hundreds of police and firefighters responded at 7.14pm local time to the fire, which shut down the busy Tsim Sha Tsui station in central Kowloon.

Such incidents are rare in Hong Kong, a wealthy Asian financial centre that has a reputation for being safe and has relatively little violent crime.

AP

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