Police are looking for a person who stole a double-decker bus of Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB) in Fanling in the wee hours of Sunday and drove it around before crashing it in Tai Po.
It was the second such incident in less than three months. The KMB condemned the act and pledged to fully cooperate with the police in the investigation, a spokesman for the bus operator said.
Stealing a bus and driving it without third party insurance are criminal offenses, the spokesman said, adding that the lives of other road users could be endangered.
According to Apple Daily, the 79K bus, which served the route between Sheung Shui Bus Terminus and Ta Kwu Ling, was parked by the driver along Ming Yin Road sometime after 11 p.m. on Saturday. The bus was supposed to have been parked there until it resumed service early the next morning.
But the bus was stolen and believed to be cruising on Lam Kam Road toward Tai Po at about 3 a.m. on Sunday.
When it was near Chai Kek village, the bus jumped onto a pavement and hit four iron pillars and two electrical power boxes before crashing into a taxi and a red Honda car by the roadside.
A commuter called the police after seeing the seriously damaged bus, but claimed seeing no one on the bus at the time.
Responding policemen found the left front of the bus crushed and its windshield shattered.
The trunk of the rammed taxi and two electrical power boxes were also heavily deformed.
A source said the security camera installed on the bus did not capture the face of the culprit, who seemed to be familiar with how to operate the bus.
The person activated the vehicle not by tapping an Octopus card as drivers normally do but by turning on a hidden switch at the rear side of the bus, the source said.
As the secret switch is known only to insiders, Lai Siu-chung, director of the KMB branch of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, suspected the culprit might have acquired the knowledge through some security loophole at KMB.
The case has been listed as taking conveyance without authority, a traffic accident with no one injured, and leaving the scene after a traffic accident, The Standard reported.
The Tai Po police district has formed a team of detectives to look for the culprit.
A similar case happened in the early morning of May 22, when two men, both aged 16, stole a KMB double-decker bus parked at the Lok Fu Bus Terminus and crashed it near the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals before fleeing the scene. They were arrested four days later.
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