Police deny not acting correctly over deaths
POLICE yesterday denied that they had not reacted correctly to the hit and run killing of two pedestrians during an illegal road race in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Chief Superintendent Eric Lockeyear said it was not true that undercover police had failed to act against road racers before the lorry crash on Salisbury Road and did not go to the aid of injured people.
Mr Lockeyear said two uniformed officers were the first at the scene where a four-tonne truck had ploughed through a central reservation barrier, killing two and injuring four others.
''They provided first aid to the victims and took control of the scene to prevent further accidents,'' he said.
He added that seven of 10 uniformed officers who were on the scene within five minutes, were from the team working on the night's swoop of illegal racers.
Ambulances were called to the scene within seconds of the accident, he said.
He said plain-clothes police who were staked out in the area were not deployed to help the emergency effort because they would have arrived at the junction of Salisbury Road and Canton Road later than their uniformed colleagues.
Mr Lockeyear said the operation was suspended immediately after the accident but that undercover police had remained in position ''in the interests of public safety to act against any illegal driving or racing that occurred later''.
The deputy convenor of the Legco Security Panel Mr Simon Ip Sik-on has asked convenor Mrs Elsie Tu for a special meeting to discuss the incident but he said last night the date of the meeting had yet to be fixed.
He said that in the meeting he would ask the police to explain what had happened during that night and why the 40 policemen who were there had not gone to help the injured.
Mr Li said he would also like to know whether the police thought they had sufficient power to control road racers and if not, what proposals did they have.
The Legco's legal representative was also interested to know the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of illegal car racing over the past three years to get a fuller picture of the problem in the territory.
The chairman of the Magistrates' Association defended the punishment given to illegal road racers and denied that the courts were too soft on those convicted of the offence.
Deputy Judge Mr Anthony To said some racers were sentenced to jail terms up to the maximum penalty of two years in prison.
''It all depends on the circumstances of the case, but I have sentenced people to six months' imprisonment and I know other cases of three to six month sentences,'' he said.