Three people have died and almost 90 have been injured in a spell of road violence marking the worst Lunar New Year on the roads since 2006.
Police reported three fatal road crashes and 85 serious crashes between 19 January and Lunar New Year (22 January).
On Friday evening, a 75-year-old van driver ploughed into a massive concrete truck parked illegally and without warning lights or reflectors in the outside lane of a Tsing Yi dual carriageway. His 67-year-old female passenger was badly injured in the crash while the driver died in hospital shortly after the smash.
On Thursday night in Tai Wai, a 35-year-old driving a high-performance Tesla ran over and killed a 65-year-old woman who was crossing Tin Sam Street in Tai Wai. That crash happened only a few hundred yards from another fatal pedestrian crash on 6 January this year.
And on Thursday afternoon, a 70-year-old minibus driver ran over a 66-year-old woman crossing a road outside the Ground Transportation Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. Mortally wounded by the 28-seater shuttle bus, the victim died eight hours later in hospital.
Other notable crashes include a 38-year-old coupe driver who hit and wounded a 70-year-old woman crossing the road on Prince Edward Road West early this morning. Police later found the driver was wanted by the police for unpaid traffic fines and he was detained. The victim is in hospital in serious condition.
And on Thursday, an 87-year-old taxi driver lost control of his cab and smashed into a number of vehicles, refusing hospital treatment for himself when he eventually stopped and causing no other serious injuries. Reporters at HK01 found the octogenarian driver, who’d been a taxi driver for 50 years, had been involved in two other crashes in the previous nine days. Reports suggest the driver has a wealthy family and doesn’t need to work: his family say he enjoys the job and stubbornly refuses to hang up his driving gloves.
The death toll this Lunar New Year could well have been higher, with a number of dangerous incidents causing no injury or fatality: in Shek O this morning, four drivers had lucky escapes when two separate crashes within 20 minutes of each other left no injuries. Police suggest the cases were linked to illegal street racing.
And around midnight last night, a 42-year-old Mercedes driver led police on a high-speed chase along Kwai Tsing Highway, reaching speeds of around 180 kph, after traffic cops tried to pull him over for driving an unlicensed car. Police found traces of methamphetamine and cocaine in the driver’s oral samples and said they “did not rule out drugged driving”.
The death toll this Lunar New Year has been three times higher than the average for the last 20 years. The last time the new year saw such horrific road carnage was 2006, when three people died on the three days ahead of Year of the Dog.