Firelighters can be found in convenient stores in MTR stations. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cigarette lighters will be banned for sale in Hong Kong’s metro stations from March 1 after a man set himself on fire on a train during the evening rush-hour that injured 18 people.

The ban will be in force in all areas of the stations on the network from March 1 to ensure a safe, credible and comfortable environment for passengers, Apple Daily reported on Wednesday, quoting an MTR spokesman. The MTR Corp announced the measure on Tuesday.

The new measure would not help prevent any fire attacks in the metro station as people can bring in lighters from outside the stations, said Kwok Ka-ki, a Civic Party lawmaker and deputy chairman of the transport panel of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong.

Kwok said the MTR should launch emergency drills, improve training of staff to help identify suspects and prevent possible attacks. He said the company should also install closed-circuit television cameras on trains.

On February 10, a 60-year-old man surnamed Cheung splashed his body with flammable liquid and set himself alight with the intent to harm other passengers on the crowded train departing from Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui.

According to MTR by-law Article 23A, no person shall place or throw any lighted cigarette end, match, tobacco, liquid, substance or any other thing upon the railway premises in a manner which constitutes or is likely to constitute a fire hazard.