To Kwa Wan fury over coach tragedy

Top News | Cindy Wan 23 Apr 2019

A fatal To Kwa Wan accident at the weekend was said to be just waiting to happen as tourist coaches loaded with mainland visitors have been driving dangerously in the district, which is home to a Chinese restaurant that specifically caters to them.

In the accident, a 62-year-old woman, Yik, was run over by a coach turning left from Kowloon City Road into Sze Chuen Street.

She was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and declared dead on arrival.

The 46-year-old driver, Cheung, was arrested for reckless driving causing death.

Vehicles were still seen parking on Sze Chuen Street yesterday, while coaches carrying mainland tourists made acute turns to enter the narrow two-lane street.

There are no traffic lights at the intersection to guide pedestrians, and vehicles are allowed to turn both ways.

A resident, Li, said the area is always filled with tourists and coaches as there are two hotels and numerous restaurants nearby.

Given the rampant double-parking problem, residents are forced to stand between coaches to observe the road conditions before crossing the street, he said.

"The coaches are huge and the street is narrow, so we need to stick our heads out to see if any cars are coming," he said.

Li, who lives in a building above a restaurant serving mainland tour groups, said tourists often block the entrance to his building.

The Chinese restaurant, Ying Heung, occupies half of the pavement on Ha Heung Road and uses barriers for crowd control with the tourists.

Another resident said people need to be wary when crossing the street as vehicles can come from both sides.

Drivers usually occupy more than one lane to make turns into the narrow street, he added. Police yesterday placed a notice on a lamppost near where Yik was knocked down to warn pedestrians about the accident and distributed leaflets about road safety to the elderly in To Kwa Wan.

Timothy Lee Hin-long of the Kowloon City Mainland Tourists Concern Group said the traffic problem will worsen over the coming Labor Day holiday, which lasts for seven days in China.

He said around 100 coaches make daily runs in To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom to take tourists for meals, with numbers doubling over long holidays.

Although the government set up a temporary car park on Bailey Street for coaches to park for HK$6 an hour, few drivers use it since the location is inconvenient for dropping off and picking up passengers, he said.

He urged the government to cap the number of mainland tour groups and provide parking discounts to get coach drivers to park away from residential areas.

This is the fifth fatal accident related to tour coaches in To Kwa Wan in the past two years, with one claiming a woman's life on Bailey Street in August.

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