Bus driver stepped on the wrong pedal, police say
Choi Chi-yuk and Ada Lee
The mainland bus driver blamed for killing five pedestrians, including three Hongkongers, in Shenzhen last week is facing criminal charges for mistakenly stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake.
The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily quoted a report from the traffic police squad in Shenzhen that stated: 'Without ensuring the safety of passers-by, Deng, the surname of the bus driver, had mistaken the accelerator for the brake before stepping on it when he saw several pedestrians walking past in front of the vehicle while he was at the wheel.'
Traffic police ruled out mechanical failure as a cause of the crash, the report said. The police added that Deng would face criminal charges.
Hong Kong residents Li Wai-man, 45, Tsang Chiu-king, 60, and Chan Choi-yuk, 65, died when the bus hit the pedestrians at the Luohu Coach Station, close to the border checkpoint at Lo Wu last Tuesday.
'Relatives of all three victims received death certificates for their loved ones,' said Chan Chi-fai, of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions office in Shenzhen, who helped relatives with formalities.
Li's remains were sent back to Hong Kong yesterday for burial while Chan Choi-yuk's body is due to arrive in her hometown in Shanwei county, Guangdong, today.
Li's relatives last week agreed an offer with the Shenzhen Yunfa Group, which operated the coach.
Unconfirmed reports said the company promised to pay Li's family at least HK$400,000, while relatives of the other two victims demanded an extra 10 to 20 per cent on top of what was initially offered.
Lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, of the tourism constituency, said visitors to nearby mainland cities should consider buying travel insurance, even for short trips.
'Only a handful of travellers to the mainland buy travel insurance if they are not on tours,' he said.
'If there is an accident, travellers who are not protected by insurance find it very difficult to get compensation through legal processes, especially on the mainland.'