Hong Kong immigration officials have taken more than a week to confirm the deaths of four residents in a car accident in mainland China’s Fujian province, with a lawmaker calling on officials to provide more timely updates on such incidents across the border.
The accident in Fuzhou city in early April led to the deaths of four passengers, while the driver, who is also a Hong Kong resident, suffered minor injuries, the Immigration Department told the Post early on Thursday, hours after local media reported the crash.
The department said the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong was notified by authorities in Fuzhou earlier this month and had immediately dispatched staff to the area to provide appropriate assistance and contact the victims’ relatives.
It added that the driver was currently under investigation by mainland authorities, but stopped short of revealing when the accident occurred or further details on the victims.
Lawmaker Kingsley Wong Kwok, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said officials need to announce such information much quicker since many city residents were driving across the border for holidays.
“Many Hongkongers are taking self-driving holiday trips to the north, authorities should make announcements of car accidents timely so it can serve as a warning for them,” he told a radio programme on Thursday.
“Hong Kong and the mainland have close relations, there are over 540,000 Hong Kong people living in Guangdong. It’s a very big number … so the Hong Kong government should consider this problem.”
Separately, the department said two Hong Kong residents were injured in an accident earlier this month that also killed two mainlanders. The incident in Yunnan province’s Shangri-La City involved a private car driven by one of the mainland residents.
One Hong Kong resident had been discharged from the hospital, while the other was stable, it said but stopped short of revealing further details.
“The Guangdong office and the Immigration Department will continue to maintain close contact with the Hong Kong residents involved and their families and provide all possible assistance,” the department added.
The department stopped short of revealing the dates of either accident or details on the victims involved.
The accidents follow a rise in the number of Hongkongers travelling across the border after three years of coronavirus restrictions.
Lawmaker Wong suggested mainland authorities consider various means of providing help to any Hong Kong residents involved in similar accidents.
He also urged residents to drive carefully, warning that traffic and road conditions in the city and on the mainland were different.
The delay in revealing accident details marked a change from past incidents, with local authorities in Fujian province’s Zhangzhou quickly reporting the death of a Hong Kong man alongside six others during a traffic accident in April 2006.
Authorities also provided further information shortly after the incident, which also left 13 Hongkongers injured, ensuring local media outlets could report the story a day later.