Fatal traffic accident

Hong Kong minibus driver arrested in connection with death of workman in hit-and-run accident

Trade unionists call for better regulation and inspection of roadworks in wake of sharp increase this year in roadside deaths of workers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 6:21pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 11:34pm

The minibus driver suspected of fleeing the scene of Thursday’s fatal hit-and-run accident in Kowloon Tong, in which a road maintenance worker died, has been arrested as trade unionists called for better regulation and inspection of roadworks.

According to police, the 60-year-old suspect was arrested when he returned to Hong Kong through the Lo Wu checkpoint at around 1.30pm on Saturday.

Initial investigations found the public light bus was travelling from Lion Rock Tunnel towards Kowloon when it allegedly knocked down the 42-year-old workman surnamed Tam. It did not stop after the collision, police said.

The deceased man was working on a section of Waterloo Road with about three other workmen. Officers later found the vehicle at a repair yard on Yiu Sha Road in Ma On Shan, but the driver could not be found until Saturday.

Police and the Highways Department said there were enough warning signs erected at the worksite. It was also understood the workmen were wearing high-visibility reflective vests.

Earlier on Saturday, unionists spoke to the press about the need for the government to do more to protect workers.

Labour lawmaker Ho Kai-ming said that including Thursday’s accident, there had been four such deaths this year, up from just one in 2015.

“With only 300 people in the industry, four deaths and one injury in the last four months is a high proportion, even higher than that for accidents on construction sites,” he said.

Ho and Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, urged the government to review a code of practice on roadworks last updated in 2006.

Chow suggested placing the first sign warning of roadworks further from the site.The current distance ranges from 40 metres to 600 metres depending on the estimated approach speed of vehicles.

He also suggested the installation of speed bumps, which would help wake sleepy drivers.

Ho called on the Highways and Labour departments to assign more staff to carry out spot safety checks and to be firmer in halting work or bringing prosecutions if there were problems.

In June, three road maintenance workers were killed on the Tsing Kwai Highway when a taxi crashed into a truck, which then hit them. They were collecting cones used to mark off an area for roadworks.

On Wednesday, a driver was killed and two passengers injured when a minibus crashed into two parked road maintenance vehicles in Aberdeen.