An out-of-control armoured cash-delivery van crashed into a taxi and a cement truck, triggering a seven-vehicle pile-up in Kowloon City that left eight people injured yesterday.
Heavily armed police in bullet-proof vests guarded the van for about two hours until the boxes of cash and valuables it was carrying were transferred to another vehicle.
Police are investigating whether the crash was caused by a mechanical fault, such as brake failure, as the van left no brake marks at the scene.
The Guardforce armoured van with four security guards was travelling down the Hung Hom-bound lane of the Ma Tau Chung Road flyover at about 11am when the crash happened.
The driver apparently lost control of the van as it neared the end of the flyover outside Sung Wong Toi Garden. The van crashed into the back of a taxi, which then rammed into a light goods vehicle.
The force of the collision sent the taxi and armoured van into the opposite lane. The taxi spun around, hitting three other vehicles - a coach, a taxi and a cement truck. The light goods vehicle stopped on the flyover.
'The armoured van continued to move forward for a short distance. It came to a stop when it slammed head-on into another cement truck,' Senior Inspector Sin Man-yau, of the Kowloon West traffic investigation unit, said. The front of the armoured van was extensively damaged and its driver was trapped and had to be freed by firemen.
'He suffered leg fractures,' Senior Inspector Sin said.
The other three guards, cement truck driver, the two taxi drivers and one passenger were also injured.
The seven men and one woman, aged between 22 and 53, were treated at Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The driver of the armoured van, 31, was in serious condition. Two men, aged 34 and 47, were in stable condition in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The others were discharged after treatment.
The taxi left brake marks, Senior Inspector Sin said. 'But no brake marks were left behind by the armoured van. It suggested that there could be a mechanical defect or its driver did not brake heavily.'
Police said the location was not a traffic black spot.
The accident caused severe congestion in the area, with traffic backed up for about 1km to Chi Kiang Street, Hung Hom. Traffic flow was back to normal at about 2pm.
The armoured van was taken to a government vehicle pound in Ho Man Tin for inspection.
Police figures showed that 45 people were killed in 38 accidents in the first three months of this year, compared with 37 deaths in 37 accidents in the same period last year.