Police to probe if sacked driving instructor accident was deliberate

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 4:41am

Police are investigating whether a traffic accident in which a sacked driving instructor in the centre of an industrial dispute had his right foot severed was deliberate.

"We are now investigating the background of the motorist involved in the crash," an investigator said.

He was speaking as Kevin Ma Wai-hung, 51, was recovering from surgery to reattach the foot, which was ripped off when he was hit by a car in Sham Tseng on Tuesday while training for the Hong Kong Marathon.

The Hong Kong School of Motoring fired Ma and fellow instructor Ho Tak-ming, 50, earlier this month without giving reasons. The pair suspect they were fired because they have been trying to set up a union.

They recently staged a hunger strike and blocked the entrance of two training centres in protest over the sackings.

Ma fasted for about 70 hours before he felt unwell and went home to rest. Ho was taken to the hospital 52 hours after the strike.

But in another twist to the saga, the company's marketing and communications chief, Alan Soong Wai-leung, said yesterday the company was willing to give Ma and Ho back their jobs.

Soong said the company also would give Ma's family HK$50,000 to help them through the difficult time.

Ma's friend said although doctors at the Prince Margaret Hospital had reattached his foot, it would take several days to see if his body will reject it. Ma's condition improved from critical to serious yesterday.

The friend was not sure if Ma would be able to drive again.

Ma was knocked down by a car that mounted the footpath in Castle Peak Road near Sham Tsz Street at 4pm on Tuesday.

Yesterday afternoon, the 20-year-old driver was called to the headquarters of New Territories South traffic unit in Tsuen Wan by officers who wanted to clarify some things he told them on Tuesday night. He was allowed to leave after the inquiries.

A team of officers returned to the scene yesterday morning to check surveillance camera tapes from shops and buildings.

The driver, who was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driviing, works for a motor company.

At the time of the crash he was driving a Honda Accord to his home in Tuen Mun after attending a training course in Kowloon.

He was reported to have told police that he lost control of his car while swerving to avoid a Mercedes-Benz, which drove off before officers arrived.

Officers are investigating whether the car was travelling above the legal limit of 50km/h at the time. Its speedometer will be taken to a government laboratory for examination.

Separately, Soong said police have not invited anyone from the company to assist with the police investigation.

"We are absolutely not involved [in the accident]. If we were, the police would have invited us for questioning already," he said. Soong said the company was now willing to give Ma and Ho back their jobs out of goodwill. If Ma could not drive again, the company was willing to offer him a position in the office.

The school's chief executive, Taurus Leung Ying-kwan, visited Ma at the hospital yesterday

Ho has made it clear he would not accept the job offer. "I will definitely not go back to this shameless company, even if it means I have to become a beggar," he said.