HK of­fi­cials mourn hor­ror crash vic­tims

Flags fly at half-staff out of re­spect for 19 peo­ple killed when bus over­turned

China Daily - - TOP NEWS - By CAR­RIE QIU in Hong Kong car­rieqiu@chi­nadai­

Hong Kong’s top of­fi­cials paid silent trib­ute on Tues­day to the vic­tims of the city’s sec­ond-most deadly bus crash.

The na­tional flag and that of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion were also low­ered to half-staff at the city gov­ern­ment’s head­quar­ters as a mark of re­spect.

Nine­teen peo­ple died and 66 were in­jured on Satur­day when a dou­ble-decker bus car­ry­ing horse rac­ing fans over­turned while trav­el­ing from the Sha Tin Race Course to Tai Po.

It is the first time the flags at the gov­ern­ment of­fices have been low­ered since 2012, when a ferry col­li­sion off Lamma Is­land left 39 dead.

City lead­ers, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil and Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, paid silent trib­ute at the start of sched­uled meet­ings on Tues­day morn­ing.

Speak­ing to the me­dia be­fore a weekly meet­ing, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor re­it­er­ated that all prin­ci­pal of­fi­cials in Hong Kong will not par­tic­i­pate in any fes­tive ac­tiv­i­ties for Chi­nese New Year, which falls on Fri­day. “I my­self will not go to the flower mar­ket,” she said.

On Mon­day, it was an­nounced that Hong Kong’s an­nual Lu­nar New Year fire­work dis­play, sched­uled for Satur­day, had been can­celed out of re­spect for the crash vic­tims.

Mean­while, all of­fi­cials with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s Li­ai­son Of­fice and its three re­gional work­ing de­part­ments, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs com­mis­sioner’s of­fice in Hong Kong and the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Gar­ri­son also paid a silent trib­ute to the vic­tims.

Lam ex­pressed her grat­i­tude to na­tional lead­ers for their mes­sages of con­do­lence af­ter the tragedy.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping sent his deep con­do­lences and sym­pa­thies to the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies on Mon­day via Wang Zhimin, di­rec­tor of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s Li­ai­son Of­fice. He also com­mended the city gov­ern­ment’s emer­gency man­age­ment work.

In ad­di­tion, Wang re­layed con­do­lences from Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and Zhang De­jiang, chair­man of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Con­gress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee.

The driver of the bus, 30-year-old Chan Ho-ming, ap­peared at Fan­ling Mag­is­trates Court on Tues­day charged with caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

He was de­nied bail, and pros­e­cu­tors said they are con­sid­er­ing a “more se­ri­ous charge”. The hear­ing was ad­journed un­til April 10.

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