Barbed wire may stop bridge suicides: police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am

Police have urged the Tsing Ma Bridge operators to put barbed wire on top of the bridge railings to discourage people from leaping to their deaths.

The suggestion emerged as rescuers recovered the body of a debt-laden taxi driver who parked his vehicle and apparently jumped off the bridge early yesterday.

The installation of barbed wire had been recommended to Tsing Ma Management three months ago after a man was stopped trying to jump off the bridge, the police said.

Bridge staff monitoring closed-circuit television cameras spotted the taxi of Mung Siu-pok, 57, stationary in the airport-bound lane of the bridge just before 2.30am yesterday.

He was gone when staff arrived to check the vehicle but his identity card was inside, police said.

A search was launched with the participation of police launches and a government helicopter.

Shortly after 8am, Mung's body was recovered by firemen in waters off Tsing Yi Island.

A police officer said initial investigations showed that the man was heavily in debt.

Yesterday's bridge suicide was the second in four months. Yeung Ping-yuk, 53, jumped to his death from the bridge on April 13.

Another two men were rescued when they threatened to jump off the bridge in separate suicide attempts in May and July.

After the May incident, police said yesterday that a senior police officer recommended to bridge company manager Michael Liu that barbed wire be fitted on the rails.

No one from the management company could be reached for comment yesterday.

In 2003, Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung called for stepped-up patrols by bridge workers to stop suicides.

The first suicide on the bridge, which opened in 1997, was in September 2001 when a 22-year-old Pakistani man jumped.