Hong Kong mourns victims of fatal bus crash

Updated 2018-02-13 16:52:01 Xinhua

Flags were flown at half-mast Tuesday morning at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government headquarters to mourn the 19 people who died in Saturday's bus crash in the New Territories.

The HKSAR's Executive Council and Legislative Council observed a moment of silence Tuesday morning. The HKSAR government departments had also been told that they could make arrangements to do so.

Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army Garrison in the HKSARalso observed a moment of silence at around 10 a.m. local time.

A number of websites of the HKSAR government departments and local newspapers were turned black and white on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, the HKSAR Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee Zhang Dejiang, had conveyed through the liaison office their sympathies and expressed their condolences to the bereaved families, as well as to those injured in the accident.

A double-decker bus overturned Saturday evening on a road in the Tai Po district in the New Territories, killing 19 people and injuring over 60.

Lam announced Monday that the Lunar New Year fireworks display scheduled on Feb. 17 would be canceled as an "expression of citywide mourning."

She also said that principal HKSAR government officials and herself would refrain from attending any major celebratory events in the coming one or two weeks.

"This bus incident is an extremely tragic one, and in the last two days we have heard from various quarters ... suggesting that in order to pay respect to the deceased and the victims, and also for the community to express their grief, it was not very appropriate to continue with the Chinese New Year fireworks on the second day of the Lunar New Year," Lam told media Tuesday morning before the Executive Council meeting.

"I have taken into account their suggestion, their views and the general sentiments in the community and come to the decision that we would cancel this year's Chinese New Year fireworks," she said.

Lam said the sponsoring organization of the fireworks show has been notified, and it supports this decision by donating the funds left to the victims' families.

Since Sunday about 42.5 million Hong Kong dollars (about 5.43 million U.S. dollars) have been raised by a number of charities to help the victims, according to Lam. The money will be handled by the HKSAR government's Social Welfare Department and distributed to the 84 families in need.

The Tourism Commission announced Tuesday that to express deep condolences to the victims, "A Symphony of Lights," a sound and light show staged every night at the Victoria Harbor, will be suspended Tuesday night.

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