Suspected drink-driver collapses and dies after Kowloon car crash

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 January, 2009, 12:00am

A man who died after a car collision yesterday had earlier been able to get out of his car and walk to check on the condition of the other driver involved.

Kan Kwok-hung, 43, was conscious when rescuers arrived but collapsed as paramedics helped him out of his car. He was pronounced dead later in hospital.

Police said he smelled strongly of alcohol and tests would be conducted to see whether he was over the legal limit.

Kan's Honda Civic slammed into the rear of a Toyota Corolla, which had stopped at a red traffic light in Waterloo Road in Kowloon, near Hereford Road, at about 5.10am. The impact pushed the Toyota forward by 3 to 4 metres into the railing of a safety island.

The Toyota driver, identified only as Cheng, was trapped in his car and had to be freed by firemen.

'Investigations revealed that before the ambulance arrived, the younger driver got out, went to check the other driver and had a brief conversation. He then returned to his car,' Superintendent Lai Yuk-wah of the Kowloon West traffic unit said.

Kan, unable to stand when helped out of his car, squatted on the ground and passed out after being put on a stretcher. He was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where doctors declared him dead at 6.45am.

The other driver, who is elderly, was in stable condition.

Officers believe Kan suffered internal bleeding, because his abdomen was swollen. An autopsy will be carried out.

Mr Lai said no skid marks were found, indicating Kan had not tried to brake before hitting the other car. The air bag of his car was inflated.

Police are appealing for witnesses to contact officers on 2773 5200 or 2773 5211.

Kan's mother, who lives alone in Ngau Tau Kok, said her son had driven after consuming alcohol in the past.

The number of people arrested for drink-driving offences over the last Christmas and New Year period increased by 53 per cent to 139 from 91 during the same period in 2007-08. In the first 11 months of last year, 1,323 drivers were prosecuted for drink-driving, compared with 1,417 for the whole of 2007 and 1,341 for 2006.

In a separate case, a vegetable-stall co-owner surnamed Wan, 48, died after being run over by the right front wheel of a refuse truck in Western Wholesale Food Market in Fung Mat Road, Western, at about 2pm. Police arrested the driver on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death.

In the first 11 months of last year, 145 people died in 126 traffic accidents; 144 people were killed in 138 accidents in the same period of 2007.

Getting higher

More drink-drivers have been caught over Christmas and New Year

Arrests rose 53 per cent, from 91 in the 2007-08 holiday period to: 139