An online video clip of passengers of a minibus screaming and begging its driver to stop when his vehicle ran erratically along an elevated motorway in Hong Kong until hitting a barrier has prompted police to launch an investigation and arrest the 57-year-old driver.
The video footage of the freak incident that lasted for about two minutes was captured by one of the passengers of the bus when it was running on the Tuen Mun-bound Yuen Long Highway at about 4.40pm on Wednesday.
Passengers were screaming and asking the driver to pull over when the minibus was switching lanes erratically on the three-lane carriageway, the clip showed.
Some passengers were seen requesting the driver, “If you are feeling unwell, stop it” and “Do not play. [We are] on the flyover”. It seemed the driver did not respond to their calls.
“Please stop. I beg you,” a female passenger shouted, before screaming loudly and breaking into tears when the minibus hit a barrier on the flyover.
The driver pulled over the bus on the slow lane of the highway when another passenger went to him and asked him to stop. Another minibus was sent to pick up the passengers.
Officers arrived at the spot after receiving a report from a passenger at around 4.40pm on Wednesday. The driver claimed to officers he had been feeling unwell. No arrest was made at the time, but the minibus was impounded for examination.
The video clip went viral and drew more than 1,300 viewers to leave messages, some of them requesting police to arrest the driver as soon as possible.
At the Tuen Mun minibus terminal, the driver’s supervisor, who gave her surname as Poon, said on Thursday that the man had been suspended from his duties after the incident.
“He was not involved in any traffic accident during his four-year service with us,” she said.
She said she had not received any report of the driver feeling unwell. He had been working on afternoon shifts three days a week as the number of passengers dropped sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After investigation, officers from the New Territories traffic unit arrested him on Thursday morning for dangerous driving. As of Thursday afternoon, he was being held for questioning and had not been charged.
Dangerous driving carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail under the Road Traffic Ordinance.
Before lunchtime, traffic policemen went to the minibus terminal to gather evidence. Two officers were seen inspecting the vehicle involved.
A notice was also posted at the terminal, asking passengers or witnesses to the incident to contact officers.
Police figures show 23 people have been killed in 22 traffic accidents in Hong Kong in the first two months of this year. Last year, 113 people died in 107 traffic accidents.
Last December, six passengers were killed and 39 injured after a double-decker bus ploughed into a roadside tree in Sheung Shui. The impact ripped away most of its roof. — South China Morning Post
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