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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Hong Kong policeman killed by truck while responding to another accident

Senior constable was collecting traffic cones in Hung Hom after dealing with separate incident involving a Mercedes-Benz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 8:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 10:31pm

A Hong Kong policeman was hit and killed by a truck on Thursday, as he handled a separate car accident in Hung Hom.

The fatality moved the chief of police to urge drivers to drive responsibly, as the chief executive offered her condolences to the officer’s family. The truck driver was arrested.

It took place during the early hours on the East Kowloon Corridor near Wo Chung Street at about 5am. Senior Constable Lum Hoi-wan, 51, was dealing with an earlier incident, in which a black Mercedes-Benz ran into the side of the road.

Footage from another vehicle’s dashcam showed two traffic officers giving instructions to drivers. There were at least three cones in the road. A woman who claimed to be the owner of the clip said the officers were trying to stop traffic so they could move the car away.

Lum was standing behind a police van when he was hit by the truck. He was not wearing a reflective vest, though the van had its flashing blue light on, and there were reflective words on his jacket.

“When he was packing his gear and about to leave, a truck weighing 5.5 tonnes rammed into him. He suffered serious head injuries. He was rushed to hospital but was certified dead at 6.04am,” Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said at Queen Elizabeth Hospital soon after 8am.

The driver who captured the footage said: “I didn’t even reach Wuhu Street [after passing the scene], then I heard a big bang.

“I just saw him work in front of my camera two minutes ago. Now he is gone.”

The driver of the truck, 58, who had previous traffic convictions, was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving and held for questioning.

Lo urged drivers to think about their attitude on the road.

“There have been many traffic accidents recently … I want to make an appeal. Drivers must have a responsible attitude, no matter whether they are driving a truck, a bus or a private car. Their negligence could ruin the happiness of all members of another family.”

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Senior inspector Yu Hoi-fung, commander of the team, said the force had a set of guidelines for traffic officers handling cases on the road. He did not say whether Lum had broken any rules by not wearing a reflective vest, adding only that the officer was about to leave the area when the truck hit him.

“He was not wearing a vest when he was on the way to hospital. He had finished handling the previous accident and was packing up. We will look into the matter to see what happened at the time,” Yu said.

He added that the truck driver was not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to the force’s procedures manual, officers who are not wearing high-visibility jackets need to put on high-visibility vests if they are sent to perform duties on a carriageway, or traffic-related operations including traffic control or on-site investigation of road accidents.

Lum, the father of a 19-year-old son, joined the force in 1988. His two brothers also serve, as a senior constable and a sergeant.

The Junior Police Officers’ Association, which represents more than 20,000 members, expressed its condolences, adding that it would assist Lum’s family.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she was deeply saddened by Lum’s death.

“Being professional and brave, Hong Kong police officers always serve people with commitment and zeal despite the danger involved in their duties. I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Lum while carrying out [his] duty this morning and offer my deepest condolences to his family. The Civil Service Bureau and the police will make every effort to support the family,” she said.

Drunk man snatches Hong Kong policeman’s gun and fires three shots, injuring two officers

This was the second time in a week that police chief Lo has visited his fellow officers in hospital. Last Thursday, two policemen were shot by a drunk man who snatched a gun from one of them and fired three shots.

Lo stressed that police officers in the city often face uncertainty and danger at work.

Figures from the force showed that 14,300 traffic accidents were recorded between January and November in 2017, 90 of them fatal. A total of 94 people were killed and 18,019 injured.

Additional reporting by Clifford Lo