2 men arrested after escalator reverses direction in Hong Kong; 18 injured

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HONG KONG — Two mechanics have been arrested after an escalator packed with people in a Hong Kong shopping mall suddenly went into reverse.

Police say the suspects may have tampered with the machine’s parts after the Saturday incident, which sent shoppers tumbling.

Eighteen people were injured when the escalator at Mong Kok’s Langham Place switched direction from up to down. One man suffered a head injury and was in serious condition, according to CNN affiliate CCTV.

The mechanics, aged 22 and 52, are facing charges of obstruction of justice, police said. Both have been released on bail and must report back to police in mid-April.

“The arrest of our mechanics was a surprise,” Ian Fok, a spokesman for the Otis Elevator Company, which employes the two men, said in a statement.

“While the mechanics were assisting the EMSD, the agency called the police to have the mechanics arrested. Our legal team is working with law enforcement to clarify the situation and intends to defend our mechanics.”

The company says it is committed to assisting the investigation.