KMB staff at Mong Kok East bus terminal pay a silent tribute on Monday to those killed by last Saturday’s horrific bus crash on Tai Po Road, the city’s deadliest traffic accident in more than a decade. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year fireworks will be canceled to mourn victims of the fatal double-decker bus accident on Saturday which killed 19 passengers and injured 66, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Monday.
Flags will be lowered to half-mast at government headquarters on Tuesday.
This is the first time the Hong Kong’s government has flown the city’s flags at half-mast since 2012 - after a ferry collision off Lamma Island left 39 dead. At that time, the government also canceled a similar firework display scheduled for the National Day celebration.
After reviewing suggestions from different social sectors, the government concluded that respects need to be paid to the road-accident victims. It is no longer appropriate to hold the annual fireworks event on Saturday - the second day of the New Year, explained Lam.
The event’s sponsor will donate saved funds to families of the victims, which accounts for at least HK$1 million, according to Lam.
The national and regional flags will fly at half-mast at the government headquarters in Admiralty; the CE’s cabinet will observe a minute of silence before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said. The government also suggested all civil servants observe a one-minute silence by standing at their workstation or area in a dignified manner at 10 am on Tuesday.
Lam also required the city’s top officials to avoid attending celebratory activities in the next one or two weeks, as far as possible.
The 30-year-old arrested bus driver was charged with dangerous driving causing death on Monday. He is expected to appear in the Fanling Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
As of Monday, apart from the 19 deaths, three people were pulled from danger, reducing the number of people in critical condition to six. The number of those in serious condition fell from 11 to seven.
Lam said financial donations for victims received from different foundations had reached HK$42.5 million. The Social Welfare Department will grant the donated money to 84 families affected by the accident, according to Lam.
More than 2,000 residents donated blood on Sunday in response an appeal from the Red Cross. Lam said the number of people who donated blood was more than double the number on normal days. The 12 blood donor centers in Hong Kong will stay open during the Lunar New Year holiday because of the tragic accident, Lam said.
In Hong Kong’s second-deadliest ever road traffic accident last Saturday, a double-decker bus filled with horse racing fans toppled over on the way from Sha Tin Race Course to Tai Po.