Protester-battered taxi driver set for big payout

Top News | Cindy Wan 10 Oct 2019

The taxi driver who knocked down people on a Sham Shui Po pavement and was beaten by protesters will receive at least HK$520,000 from a pro-Beijing group.

And in a twist to the smash it was suggested that Henry Cheng Kwok-chuen, 59, had been recognized as a driver who placed a national flag on his taxi on October 1 and was attacked right before he mounted the pavement on Sunday.

Cheng knocked down at least three people with his taxi outside government offices at the intersection of Cheung Sha Wan Road and Yen Chow Street at 5pm on Sunday.

In the ensuing attack he suffered rib fractures and other injuries, which led to him having a brain scan.

As for people hit by Cheng's taxi, a woman suffered a serious fracture of a thigh and a knee dislocation, while two others sustained minor injuries.

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Stanley Ng Chau-pei, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, visited Cheng at Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday, where he is in stable condition.

The pro-Beijing group Safeguard HK, convened by Wong, has promised to donate at least HK$520,000 to help Cheng.

Ng, who added the donation came from "benevolent individuals," said he was told by a source in the Taxi Drivers and Operations Association that Cheng was recognized as a "patriotic driver" when he drove past the protest zone in Sham Shui Po.

"Some rioters opened the left-hand door, climbed into the taxi and caused it to go out of control," Ng claimed.

A video shows the door open before it mounted the pavement, though it did not reveal if there was someone else in the front of the taxi.

Regional police commander Frank Kwok Yam-yung North said at a briefing that Cheng had been dragged from his taxi and attacked by a mob of protesters after "a traffic accident."

And a man named Ho, 20, had been arrested on Tuesday as he was alleged to have been involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, web users continued to argue about the incident on The Standard's Facebook page.

Some readers said Cheng hit the crowd deliberately so he deserved a beating.

In fact, there were threats to beat him again when he leaves hospital as it was unfair he did not face a criminal charge even after severely injuring the woman.

It was also asked if the hefty donation was "a reward for attempted murder."

The pro-Beijing camp said the protesters caused the accident, so beating Cheng was a "terrorist attack."

And a reader claimed Cheng's taxi number was on a list of protesters' targets as he had shown the flag on October 1.

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