Police action blamed for smaller donation
A taxi union has blamed the police for the poor response to its campaign to raise funds for the family of a taxi driver killed in a collision with a truck in Lok Ma Chau three weeks ago.
To Sun-tong, organiser of the fund-raising effort, said that his group, the Motor Transport Workers General Union, was disappointed with the result as he presented a cheque for HK$32,000 to the taxi driver's wife and eldest son yesterday. Father of four, Yu Yat-hing, 54, was killed along with his five passengers in the accident.
'We believed the campaign could have raised up to HK$300,000 if police hadn't interfered,' Mr To said.
The campaign, held at eight different locations across the city last Monday, was ended prematurely after police warned several union members at a taxi stand on Patterson Street, Causeway Bay, that they were breaking the law.
All charity groups wishing to solicit donations from the public must seek approval from the Social Welfare Department or the Home Affairs Department.
In this case the union verbally notified the police and the two departments of its plan but was unable to immediately submit the documents as offices were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Mr To said the police called him back on Tuesday after media coverage of the incident, telling them all legal hurdles were cleared and that the campaign could go ahead. But he said it was too late. 'Our members were disheartened and they didn't want to get into any more trouble, so we gave up,' Mr To said.
The campaign was planned to run for three hours on three consecutive days, but in the end it lasted only an hour during which HK$20,000 was collected from the public. Another HK$12,000 was raised through informal fund-raising among union members.
The dead taxi driver's eldest sun, Yu Chun-shing, said the authorities had been too rigid. 'The government promised it would do its best to help us through this,' he said.
'But it won't even give the slightest flexibility for those who gave us help.'
The driver of the truck involved in the collision has been charged with dangerous driving causing death.
He will be subject to a new penalty scheme that came into effect last July, which increased the maximum sentence for the offence from five years to 10 years.