Pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting has questioned whether the police acted in accordance to safety regulations after a traffic accident in Fanling claimed the lives of two and injured six on Sunday.
The accident occurred on Sunday after a seven-seater vehicle was chased by a police motorbike on the Fanling Highway after it violated traffic regulations. Lam accused the police of using a “human roadblock” near Pak Wo Road to halt the speeding vehicle.
The driver, 37, had his licence suspended in 2011 and only regained the right to drive recently, Apple Daily reported. He was holding only a probationary licence when the incident took place. He and another passenger were killed in the accident.
The police came under fire after a separate officer appeared to instruct drivers carrying civilians to slow down on the highway, apparently in an effort to stop the suspect. The speeding vehicle then slammed into the vehicles in front of it, and the second officer was also injured as a result of the “human roadblock.”
After the incident, New Territories North Chief Inspector Ip Kwok-wai said police are responsible for safety on the highway: “Our primary responsibility is to ensure public safety… so gesturing vehicles to ask them to slow down is definitely in accordance with regulations.”
Lam – who is vice-president of the legislature’s Panel on Transport – said in a statement on Monday that, after reviewing footage of the accident, the law enforcement action posed a certain danger as the vehicle being chased was travelling at a very high speed. There was therefore serious destruction to the cars that formed part of the blockage.
Lam also said that Police Commissioner Tang King-shing had previously apologised when the police committed a similar action years ago, adding: “[The roads of] Hong Kong are busy with a lot of cars, and when stopping suspicious vehicles [the police] must ensure the safety of others road users, so as not to affect other drivers.”
Lam said that the police should clarify its guidelines on intercepting suspicious vehicles, and respond to questions on how it can ensure the safety of those who are stopped – as well as study other plans to avoid harming innocent drivers.
Former member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Edwin Cheng Shing-lung, told RTHK that the officer had acted reasonably and legally if they had asked other vehicles to slow down to prevent the suspicious vehicle from speeding and causing a serious accident or injury.
But if the officer did so merely to intercept the suspicious car and did not take into consideration the surrounding traffic, the police and IPCC should investigate, he said.