HONG KONG, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong police announced Friday that it has successfully disabled a World War II-era bomb discovered on Thursday at a construction site on Hong Kong Island, ending a 17-hour cordon off of the surrounding area.
Early this morning a police bomb disposal team managed to dismantle the device -- an AN-M66, which contained 1,000 pounds ( about 454 kg)of explosives. The 2,000-pound (about 908 kg) bomb is the largest unexploded World War II-era device that has been unearthed in Hong Kong, local police said.
It took police two hours and twenty minuets to remove the live explosives from the bomb casing, which was longer than expected, said Yuen Honwing, senior bomb disposal officer of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau.
"We dare not risk moving the bomb. It could cause severe damage within a radius of 10 meters, and buildings might collapse instantly, " Yuen said.
More than 2,000 people were evacuated after the bomb was found by construction workers who were digging an underground hotel structure near the Cosmo Hotel in Happy Valley on Thursday afternoon.
Yuen said that initial investigations showed that the bomb was left by U.S. armed forces when they were bombing Japanese military facilities during World War II.
Found plunged vertically into the ground, the bomb is 67 inches (about 1.7 meters)long and has a diameter of 24 inches (0.61 meter) .Yuen said a U.S. bomber flying out of Guangzhou had carried the bomb and that it must have landed on soft ground and failed to detonate.
All people within a 200-meter radius of the bomb were told to leave the area by 9:00 p.m. Thursday. Most of the evacuated were from nearby buildings including the Cosmo Hotel, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Xinhua News Agency's Hong Kong Bureau, a local residence building and a Sikh temple.
A public relation manager of Cosmopolitan Hotel surnamed Feng told Xinhua Friday that around 1,200 people of the hotel were evacuated last night to other same-grade hotels. "Our guests were accompanied by our work staff in last night evacuation, and they will return to the hotel this morning," she said.
A chef worked in the area said that he was a little afraid when learning there is a bomb and now feels lucky as the device has been successfully dismantled.
Japanese invaders occupied Hong Kong from 1941 to August 1945, and World War II-era bombs have been discovered in Hong Kong since the end of the war.
It was the second time such an unexploded bomb had been discovered, with a similar explosive uncovered last March near the Tai Tam country park on Hong Kong Island.