Fights prompt lorry blockade threat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 September, 2000, 12:00am

CROSS-BORDER lorry drivers have threatened protests, including blockades, if Shenzhen authorities fail to improve safety at border checkpoints.

The drivers will meet officials from the Shenzhen City Public Security Bureau tomorrow to demand action after three Hong Kong lorry drivers were attacked on Friday.

The men were dragged from their cabs and beaten on the mainland side of the Man Kam To crossing point. The violence sparked a blockade of the checkpoint by about 100 lorries late on Friday night.

Container Transportation Employees' General Union chairman Chiu Chi-keung said drivers were 'very discontented' and he accused mainland police of standing by as the men were beaten.

The trouble began after a minor accident at Man Kam To, apparently involving queue-jumping, at 10pm. Knives were used by the mainland drivers.

The three Hong Kong men - Pang Chun-ming, Chow Tat and Lam Chi-lam - needed medical treatment. They were transferred to Hong Kong hospitals yesterday but their conditions were not known.

'It is unacceptable that the Hong Kong drivers could still be attacked with weapons after Shenzhen Public Security Officers arrived, who must have acted negligently,' Mr Chiu said.

'We'll definitely ask the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau to look into the incident and, more importantly, we want public order to be improved at these border checkpoints, which have continued to deteriorate.'

Hundreds of robberies and assaults were reported each year at the checkpoints, he said.

On August 12, Hong Kong lorry driver Lau Ying-chau was killed in a robbery at Man Kam To.

'We'll demand the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau implement safety measures, like increasing patrols and improving traffic flow at checkpoints,' Mr Chiu said.

Union vice-chairman Tse Long said: 'If public order continues to worsen, no Hong Kong cross-border lorry drivers will dare to go to the mainland.'

There are also checkpoints at Huanggang and Lowu.