University student arrested in connection with crash

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am


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Shenzhen police have arrested a university student suspected of helping a drunk driver flee the scene of a crash on May 26 that caused an electric taxi to catch fire, killing the three people inside.

Police said the 21-year-old man is a student at Shenzhen University.

Shenzhen traffic police told a press conference that Hou Peiqing, the drunk driver of the Nissan GTR that crashed into the taxi, crossed Binhai Road after the accident and phoned the university student, asking to be picked up.

The student then took a taxi to the scene and found Hou. He stopped another taxi and accompanied Hou to a yacht club at the Dameisha Scenic Resort, the Shenzhen Evening News reported yesterday.

Hou's car was travelling at a speed of at least 180km/h when it slammed into two taxis early on the morning of May 26, killing the driver and two women passengers in a BYD electric taxi. Three female passengers in Hou's car were also injured. Hou, a driver for a construction company, turned himself in to police about seven hours later.

Shenzhen's physical evidence inspection and appraisal centre has said the three people killed in the accident were all burned to death, the Shenzhen Evening News reported. Traffic police confirmed that Hou bore full responsibility for the accident.

Questions have been raised about whether the people in the electric taxi were killed in an explosion or fire. A traffic police officer said the city government had asked experts to investigate the case and would release the results of the investigation soon.

Doubts that Hou was the driver of the Nissan GTR and the reported gagging of media trying to investigate the safety of electric taxis have landed the Shenzhen authorities in a credibility crisis.

Police have held four press conferences in an attempt to put an end to public suspicions, showing video footage of the crash and releasing the results of DNA tests indicating that bloodstains left in the car matched Hou's blood. The owner of the sports car, Xu Chuhui , was also presented to the media to show that he was not injured.

Meanwhile, the incident has had an impact on Shenzhen-based electric vehicle manufacturer BYD's share price, which has fallen by nearly 3 per cent on the mainland and more than 7 per cent in Hong Kong since the accident.

The Nanfang Daily yesterday quoted an unnamed government official as saying that the development of 'new energy' vehicles in Shenzhen would not be stopped by the accident because it was an extreme case.

Initial investigations indicated that the battery in the taxi did not explode, and Shenzhen's electric taxis would be taking to the roads as normal.

Shenzhen has more than 3,000 new energy vehicles, the most on the mainland.