Under-fire development chief Paul Chan injured in car crash
Development chief facing calls to quit over land row suffers neck injury after collision with taxi
Stuart Lau, Danny Mok and Ng Kang-chung
Development Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, who is facing calls to quit over a land row, hurt his neck yesterday in a car crash near Happy Valley racecourse.
Chan was kept in Queen Mary Hospital for about six hours for observation before being discharged. He said as he left hospital last night: "If I feel okay tomorrow, I will go back to work."
Doctors had recommended he stay for a night, but Chan said: "I feel largely all right. So I think I should go."
Chan was driving alone in a seven-seater vehicle along Wong Nai Chung Road at about 11.35am when he collided with a taxi on the Canal Road flyover.
The minister, 58, complained of neck pain after the crash, and the taxi driver, 45, sustained minor injuries to his neck and right hand. They were taken to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai. Police said the two men passed breath tests.
The taxi driver was discharged after treatment, while Chan was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital for further observation.
His wife, Frieda Hui Po-ming, said earlier in the day: "He is largely fine. But he hurt his neck and doctors suggest he stay in hospital for observation."
Chan's car and the taxi were slightly damaged and towed to the police vehicle pound in Quarry Bay for examination. Chan's car displays a "P" label - indicating a probationary driving licence for a novice driver - on the windshield. Chan's spokesman said he held a full driving licence, but one of the vehicle's users is a so-called P-plate driver.
The accident comes after a bad week for Chan. His political assistant, Henry Ho Kin-chung, resigned on Friday after admitting he had failed to make a proper declaration of interest over family-owned plots on a site at Kwu Tung that has been earmarked for a new town.
Chan himself has also been pulled in a row over land interests in the area. The opposition camp called for Chan to step down.
Former legislator Law Chi-kwong, a Democrat, said: "If people do not have trust in an official's capability and integrity, I think appointing someone else to the post is a good option."
Meanwhile, a study released by the Hong Kong Research Association yesterday showed Chan was the least popular minister in Leung Chun-ying's administration. He scored two on a scale of one to five, with five the highest. Last year, the Chinese-language Apple Daily ran a report with pictures alleging that Chan had consumed alcohol before driving.
It also claimed he crossed double white lines while driving. The justice department did not pursue the matter.