From deadly accidents to new structures being opened, a lot has happened in Hong Kong this year – so much, in fact, that you probably need a reminder. We’ve compiled a list of this year’s biggest events from around the city.
Tai Po bus crash
The Tai Po bus crash on February 10 was the deadliest bus accident in 15 years, leaving 19 dead and 65 injured. According to authorities, the bodies were so disfigured that they could not be identified by their ID card photos. The crash was deemed to have been caused by the bus driver’s negligence.
On June 6, MTR Corp admitted workers had cut the steel bars used to build a platform beneath Hung Hom station in the HK$97.1 billion Sha Tin-Central rail link project. Leighton Contractors (Asia), the company responsible for building the platforms, were accused of cutting the bars to make it seem as though they had been properly screwed into the connecting mechanisms.
Taikoo Shing shooting
On June 26, a fatal shooting took place in Quarry Bay Park, Taikoo Shing, due to a dispute over a family inheritance. The suspect, Ada Tsim Sum-kit, 44, was arrested. Two of the four victims, who are all related to Tsim, later died of their wounds.
Mong Kok pedestrian zone closes down
On July 29, hundreds of Hongkongers gathered at Mong Kok’s famous pedestrian zone for one last performance before it was closed for good. The 500-metre stretch of Sai Yeung Choi Street South was officially shut to pedestrians at about 10.40pm, and cars were able to pass through soon after. The Yau Tsim Mong district council had earlier voted 15-1 to shut down the zone for the sake of “environmental hygiene”.
Typhoon Mangkhut roared into Hong Kong on September 16, leaving a trail of destruction that took volunteers and government officials months to clean up. It is the most intense storm to hit Hong Kong since records began in 1946. The Hong Kong Observatory issued the typhoon signal No 10 for 10 hours straight.
‘Add oil’ enters the OED
In mid-October, the widely-used Cantonese term “Add oil!” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Professor Hugo Zeng, who teaches English language and literature at Soochow University in Taiwan, was the first one to spot the “Hong Kong English” phrase in the online edition of the dictionary. It is often used to express encouragement and support, or to cheer someone up.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opens
The 55-kilometre Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opened at 9am on October 24. The bridge’s 6.7km undersea tunnel is the world’s longest undersea tunnel for road traffic. The bridge shortens the overland distance between Hong Kong and Macau and Zhuhai from 160 kilometres to just 30 kilometres, reducing the travel time to less than 30 minutes.
Government rejects visa for journalist
Victor Mallet, a veteran British journalist at the Financial Times, was barred from entering the city as a visitor on November 8. He was denied a renewal of his work visa in October. In August, he had hosted a Foreign Correspondents’ Club event in Hong Kong which included a talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin, the then leader of the Hong Kong National Party. Officials banned the party in September on national security grounds.
Tsing Yi bus accident
Five people were killed and 32 injured after a coach carrying Cathay Pacific staff to Hong Kong International Airport collided with a taxi on November 30. The crash raised concerns over the working hours of Hong Kong bus drivers after Hong Kong Police revealed that the 62-year-old driver “could have been exhausted or overworked”. He died of his injuries four days after the crash.
Lawmaker barred from running in village election
On December 2, lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick became the 10th person to be barred from running in a local election due to allegiance issues. This was the first time someone was disqualified from running for the post of village representative. Many pro-democracy lawmakers expressed concern over whether such “political censorship” will be applied during next year’s citywide district council polls.
School bus crash in North Point
Four people were killed and 11 others were injured on December 10, when an unmanned school bus rolled 100 metres down a North Point street and collided with pedestrians on the intersection of Cheung Hong Street and King’s Road.