Date
20 January 2017
Dozens of red minibuses block three lanes of Shanghai Street on Wednesday night. The standoff ended after representatives of the drivers agreed to cooperate with traffic enforcers. Photos: Facebook, Ming Pao
Dozens of red minibuses block three lanes of Shanghai Street on Wednesday night. The standoff ended after representatives of the drivers agreed to cooperate with traffic enforcers. Photos: Facebook, Ming Pao

Minibus drivers vow to cooperate after ‘Occupy’ protest

Protesting drivers pledged to cooperate with traffic enforcers after occupying three lanes of a major road in Mong Kok in support of a colleague who claimed he was attacked by a policeman.

Dozens of minibuses and more than 100 people blocked Shanghai Street opposite Langham Place on Wednesday night after the arrest of the minibus driver who was issued tickets for illegal parking and dangerous driving. 

The drivers said police officers have started issuing them traffic violation tickets for parking their vehicles along the street.

The drivers said they had been using a portion of the street as parking space while awaiting passengers because the Mong Kok terminus was not adequate.

A minibus driver surnamed Wong, who was arrested during a standoff with the policeman, said traffic officers issued tickets without giving them any verbal warning first.

He said minibus drivers normally leave if they see that there are already too many vehicles parked in the area which could cause traffic jams.

During a two-hour meeting on Thursday, representatives of the drivers agreed to cooperate with the police in traffic enforcement.

The police force said in a press release that they will continue to enforce traffic rules to ensure smooth traffic flow on Shanghai Street.

However, police officers will exercise flexibility and discretion depending on traffic conditions, manpower deployment and whether a location is a traffic black spot, the statement said.

Wong said the conflict was triggered by an incident on Wednesday, when a police officer hit him in the chest and refused to let him go.

He said he is considering filing a complaint against the officer in question.

A driver surnamed Poon said the police “raided” their “territory” three days in a row instead of just asking them to leave the area, which was the previous practice.

Another driver, surnamed Liu, captured the incident involving Wong and the police officer and uploaded the clip online.

He said the officer in question was “rude and arrogant” and even threatened that he could do anything to the drivers.

Ming Pao reported that the policeman had the same identification number as the officer who was captured on video during the Occupy protest in Mong Kok last year ordering a hotel employee to kneel down after the latter complained that a police van had not switched off its engine.

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