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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Ex-cabby who hit eight pedestrians so sick he ‘shouldn’t be driving’, Hong Kong court hears

Lau Wing-see, 72, pleads guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and two counts of using a vehicle not in good and serviceable condition

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 2:03pm

A former taxi driver who crashed his vehicle into eight pedestrians in Causeway Bay two years ago pleaded guilty on Friday to dangerous driving, as his lawyer told the court the cabby should not even have been behind the wheel given his multiple medical conditions.

Lau Wing-see, 72, admitted in District Court to one count of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and two counts of using a vehicle that was not in good and serviceable condition. He will be sentenced on Monday.

According to medical records presented in court on Friday, Lau suffered from diabetes, lung issues and early cataract.

The cabby may have “blacked out” at the time of the accident, said Lau’s lawyer, Oliver Davies, who said the incident on November 12, 2016 was “out of character” for his client.

“He shouldn’t be driving at all,” Davies told judge Johnny Chan, adding that Lau had no intention to drive in the future.

The lawyer said Lau was a hardworking man, who worked as a salesman until the age of retirement then continued working as a part-time driver as he did not want to rely on welfare benefits.

Four sets of footage from security and dashboard cameras were shown in court.

Coughing could be heard in the video from Lau’s dash-cam, though there was a gap in the recording between the moment of impact and the aftermath. The camera was taken by police right after the incident.

Seven injured as Hong Kong taxi mounts pavement and ploughs into crowd at Causeway Bay

Another clip showed Lau’s taxi starting, stopping and restarting, before hitting some metal fences.

A third video showed the vehicle crashing into the pedestrians outside the Sogo department store and coming to a stop. Lau was seen exiting the taxi and checking its condition before tending to the injured pedestrians.

Two of the eight victims suffered bone fractures and knee injuries. Most of the others were able to walk away unaided.

Lau, who now works as a cleaner, appeared emotional as the footage was played.

The two counts of driving a vehicle not in good or serviceable condition were for a clip on his driver’s seat preventing full retraction of the seat belt as well as a missing taxi meter part.

The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing bodily harm is a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment of seven years. Driving a vehicle not in good or serviceable condition could lead to a fine of HK$10,000 and six months in jail.