Prison looms over fatal blast

Local | Cissy So 5 Aug 2020

A 39-year-old mechanic will be sentenced on August 17 for the manslaughter of three people in a Tsz Wan Shan garage explosion five years ago.

In mitigation, the defense said in the high court yesterday that Lai Chun-ho was not qualified to repair liquefied petroleum gas vehicles. But he was instructed to do so by his boss and made a mistake in the process.

Justice Judianna Wai-ling Barnes said the garage had been run in such a way with no accident and became more and more daring.

"The owner was the biggest beneficiary as he provided a one-stop service by owning a taxi dealership and a garage," Barnes said.

The accident happened on April 26, 2015. The prosecution said Lai was severely negligent when repairing an LPG tank and failed to ensure the gas would not accumulate when released.It is believed that a fan fell on to the repairing slot, created sparks and caused an explosion that killed the owner, a taxi driver and the owner of a neighboring shop. Lai was in a critical condition.

Lai's lawyer said he was merely following orders and did not personally benefit.

"If he could go back in time, he would refuse to carry out the order or quit the job," the lawyer said, adding that Lai was under pressure at the time as he was the breadwinner in his family.

Lai is remanded in jail custody pending sentencing.

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