An elderly truck driver who crashed his vehicle into a minibus last December and caused the death of five persons was handed a two-year jail term by a local court on Tuesday.
The District Court also barred the man, a 71-year-old surnamed Cheung, from driving for five years, suspending his license for that period.
Cheung had pleaded guilty to two charges against him, namely dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.
Announcing the sentence, deputy magistrate Bina Chainrai said she had taken into account the fatality number and the pain suffered by the families of the victims, and also the defendant’s good record in the past as a professional driver and the deep remorse shown him after the accident.
As the defendant was deeply sorry for his action and had a clean driving record prior to this incident, he deserved some leniency, Chainrai said, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
The sentencing came following an accident on December 18, when Cheung was driving his truck in Pat Heung village in Yuen Long district.
As he approached the intersection of Kam Sheung Road and Tung Wui Road, Cheung allegedly ran a red light before his truck hit a minibus and caused the latter to flip over.
One man, two women and a three-month-old baby girl on the minibus were killed on the spot, while 14 others were injured. One of the injured, the baby’s grandmother, died several days later.
Cheung claimed that green light was on when he drove through the intersection and that he was cruising only at a speed of less than 20 kilometers an hour.
However, investigations revealed that his truck was in fact running at 64 km/hr, faster than the speed limit of 50 km/hr.
Following the two-year jail term, Apple Daily cited some members of the affected families as saying that the sentence was too light.
The man deserved a longer time behind bars given the scale of the tragedy, they said.
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Truck driver in deadly Yuen Long accident faces charges (Dec. 21, 2015)