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May 18, 2010

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No knives on train but you can still carry a hammer

HAMMERS and other building tools are making some Shanghai Metro passengers nervous.

Although not banned on the city's Metro system, large metal tools such as hammers and saws are coming under scrutiny.

Last week a Netizen posted a photo on, a popular local online forum, showing a man carrying a meter-long hammer on the subway alongside clearly concerned passengers.

Metro authorities said hammers, saws and other building tools are not banned but knives are.

Police have banned more than 20 items including folding bikes, explosives, inflammable goods and hair-styling jelly.

Authorities said they would ask those who need to transport tools to carry them in bags to avoid harming anyone on crowded carriages.

"If they have no bags we'd require them to wrap the tools in paper at least," said a Metro security officer who works at Line 2's Nanjing Road W. station.

They will not be stopped from carrying tools as they might need them for their professions, the officer said.

Usually workers carry their tools in a toolbox, but they should be opened for security checks before they are allowed on trains, police said. The carriers will also be questioned.

However, that hasn't placated all passengers.

"What if the carrier uses the hammer to do any harm suddenly inside the train," said Wei Jie, a daily commuter. "No one can stop the violence then."

In February a short video posted online showed a woman wielding a fruit knife in a train on Line 9.

The woman was soon taken away by local police, who later said she had been previously been admitted to hospital with a mental problem.

Metro police have gradually tightened the checks along all 11 city subways this year.

They have also asked local delivery companies to sign agreements to have all goods checked by X-ray machines after passengers complained that some delivery staff skipped security checks by passing goods over turnstiles.

Many passengers also question the security checks even though X-ray machines have been installed at the city's more than 200 Metro stations.

Police said the checks are effective and necessary as they had confiscated more than 3,000 items since April.


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