Smoke emerged from an escalator at the Admiralty MTR station during the rush hour on Thursday evening and officals scrambled to head off any disaster.

At 6pm, an escalator at the Admiralty MTR station on the Hong Kong Line connecting the concourse with platforms 1 and 2 started emitted smoke during maintenance, news website HK01.com reported.

Heavy smoke quickly covered the concourse and police, the Counter Terrorism Response Unit, the Railway Response Team and firefighters were called in. Some entry gates were closed but train services were not affected, a railway spokesperson said, adding that no one was hurt. The company has asked the contractor to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong commuters will pay 3.3% more for their MTR rides from June this year based on the fare adjustment mechanism, a formula agreed between the company and the government, Apple Daily reported.

The rail operator said the company would offer a rebate for commuters traveling with Octopus cards and monthly passes for six months, so most commuters will not be paying the new rates this year.

The railway operator had been heavily criticized by the public after a series of problems ranging from management shakeups, station building scandals, services breakdowns and train crashes.