HK officials mourn horror crash victims
Flags fly at half-staff out of respect for 19 people killed when bus overturned
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.