Six die as lorry crushes taxi near Hong Kong-China border

Six die as lorry crushes taxi near Hong Kong-China borderHong Kong  - A taxi driver and five men travelling home to their families in Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year holiday died Friday when their vehicle was crushed by a lorry.

The 41-year-old lorry driver, who was reportedly on the wrong side of the road, failed an alcohol breath test after the accident near Hong Kong's Lok Ma Chau border crossing with China at around 7:30 am.

The 54-year-old taxi driver and his passengers, five construction workers aged 30 to 47 who had been working in China, were confirmed dead at the scene after their vehicle was dragged for 50 metres beneath the lorry.

Photographs of the accident scene shown on local television showed the lorry toppled on its side and lying across the road and the roof of the taxi torn off by the force of the collision.

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang visited the scene of the accident where the tearful uncle of one of the victims knelt in front of him and pleaded to him to make drunk-driving sentences tougher.

"These men were all their families' breadwinners," the unidentified man said. Mr Tsang, you must do something about this. A person charged with drink driving will be out of jail after a few years. Even 10 years is too lenient."

Tsang said he was saddened by the deaths and had asked the social welfare department to help the affected families. However he told reporters he believed current drunk-drive penalties were "a strong enough deterrent."

A police spokesman said the lorry driver involved in the accident had been arrested for drunk-driving and dangerous driving causing death.

Nearly 9 million people were expected to go in and out of Hong Kong by land, air and sea for the Chinese New Year holiday, which starts Friday evening. (dpa)