Hongkongers donate HK$4.4m to families of collision victims

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 12:00am

Members of the public have donated HK$4.4 million to support the families of five construction workers killed in a collision in Lok Ma Chau last month.

A committee headed by unionist lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan will manage the money. It would be distributed to the families by monthly instalment, said Mr Lee, of the Confederation of Trades Unions.

'Our staff will make sure the families get a certain amount, say HK$20,000 every month, so their livelihood is guaranteed for the next three to four years,' he said.

The committee will also release a lump-sum grant in case the beneficiaries have any special needs.

The news came as funerals for three of the crash victims were held yesterday at the Po Fook Hill cemetery in Sha Tin.

Five men, all bar benders, were in a taxi involved in a collision with a container truck. The taxi driver was also killed. The truck driver has been charged with dangerous driving causing death.

They were on their way to work at a government construction site.

The crash sparked public discussion as to whether repeat drinkdrivers should face life imprisonment and first-time offenders should be banned from driving for longer than at present.

Other organisations have raised the equivalent of HK$100,000 for the families of the taxi driver and each of the bar benders.

Fung Kin-shing, the uncle of Fung Chi-wai, one of the bar benders, said that, in contrast to the help received from the public, the government had offered the families little.

'[The government] still won't provide transport to construction sites for workers,' he said.

Workers killed in accidents on the way to their place of work are only entitled to employee compensation if they are travelling in a vehicle provided by their employer.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Club in Lan Kwai Fong last night launched its service offering free rides home to customers of the area's bars. Drivers who are unfit to take the wheel can phone 2526 8298 to request a chauffeur, who will drive them home in their own car. Non-drivers can also request a free ride home.

The Hong Kong Automobile Association launched a similar service for its 13,000 members yesterday. It will either tow a driver's car home while he or she is given a lift or takes a taxi, or provide a chauffeur. The service will cost drivers between HK$500 and HK$1,200. Drivers can call its hotline, 3583 3628.