Deadly traffic accident in To Kwa Wan renews debate over Hong Kong’s capacity for tourists – Hong Kong Free Press
Community activists have renewed calls for a cap on mainland tourists after a 62-year-old woman was killed in a coach accident on Sunday.
The incident marked the fifth time in two years where a tour bus caused a fatality, said members of KC Mainland Tourist Concern.
On Sunday afternoon, a tour bus in To Kwa Wan hit a woman and trapped her under the carriage. She was declared dead after being rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Police said that the woman was crossing at the intersection of Sze Chuen Street and Ha Heung Road when she was knocked down. The 46-year-old bus driver surnamed Cheung was arrested for dangerous driving causing death.
“The Kowloon City neighbourhood is a residential area, and its roads cannot handle large numbers of tour buses,” the concern group said in a statement.
“The days after the Lunar New Year were a bit quieter, but tour groups from the mainland increased again after March… a large number of tour buses travelling on narrow streets cause danger to residents.”
The statement, which was co-signed by seven other community groups, urged the government to limit the daily number of tour groups allowed to visit Hong Kong.
Spokesperson Timothy Lee said an average of 100 to 200 tour buses drive through Kwun Tong and To Kwa Wan per day, and he expected the number to double during the Labour Day holidays at the start of May.
Around 65 million tourists visited Hong Kong last year, according to official figures. Of these, 51 million were from the mainland.
In last April alone, an average of 480 tour groups visited Hong Kong per day, added District Councillor Roy Tam.
Mainland tourist numbers in 2018 spiked after the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge in October. The neighbourhood of Tung Chung was first to report an overwhelming influx of visitors.
New rules were put in place to prevent overcrowding, but many tourist groups flocked to Kowloon City instead. The area was especially popular with visitors looking for boat tours around Victoria Harbour, who could dock at the public piers in To Kwa Wan.
Kwan Ho-yeung, a district councillor for Kowloon City, said that there were some Chinese restaurants near the site of the accident that only catered to mainland tour groups and drew many coaches.
Kwan said he had reflected the situation to the Transport Department many times, asking that large vehicles should be prohibited from turning into narrow streets, but his requests were ignored.
In a statement, the Transport Department said that it would take follow-up action if necessary based on the results of the police investigation. It added that it had kept in contact with district councillors on traffic arrangements.
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