An outdoor area next to an eatery on the ground floor of the Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, in Tsim Sha Tsui, a bomb-like alarm clock was detonated. Photos: Google Maps, Taiwan Taobao

Around 600 shoppers were evacuated from Harbor City, one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping malls, which was locked down after a bomb scare during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday in Tsim Sha Tsui on Tuesday afternoon.

A diner noticed a suspicious package had been left on the ground near the railing of an outdoor area next to an eatery on the ground floor of Ocean Terminal, Harbor City, at 2:10pm,  Oriental Daily reported. 

Police officers locked down parts of the mall and the entrance leading to the open area next to Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier near the five-flag poles.

A robot from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was deployed to check and blow up the suspicious device at 3.49pm. But the device turned out to be a fake bomb clock comprising seven paper rolls resembling dynamite, with electric cables and a timer.

Police labeled the case a bomb threat, would not rule out links to terrorism and are looking for a female suspect.

Several of the mall’s closed-circuit television cameras captured a woman in black top and dark pants, who had been at the spot where the fake bomb was left, Apple Daily reported.

Bomb-shaped alarm clocks had been available on online shopping platforms like Taobao, selling at around 35 to 150 yuan, but these items could no longer be found after publication of the report.

Police officers said a bomb threat was a serious offence that carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a HK$150,000 fine.