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About HK$65 million ($8.35 million) of taxpayers" money is needed to repair traffic lights and pavements vandalized by radical anti-government protesters from June through December last year, the Transport and Housing Bureau said on Wednesday.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said in a written reply to the Legislative Council that repair work on 740 sets of vandalized traffic lights, costing HK$40 million, has been completed. They included 365 sets that had been damaged multiple times, with one being targeted 17 times.
The special administrative region government is expected to spend another HK$25 million to reinstall dismantled road railings and repair sidewalks from which radicals had pried bricks to build barricades in clashes with police. Chan said 52.8 kilometers of railings and about 21,800 square meters of paving bricks on footpaths had been dug up.
Among all 18 districts of Hong Kong, Yau Tsim Mong is the worst hit with 121 sets of traffic lights damaged and 9,900 sq m of paving blocks removed.
The destruction created difficulties for commuters and posed serious safety hazards to all road users, Chan said.
On Dec 4, a 69-year-old man in a wheelchair was knocked down by a van while crossing a road with damaged traffic lights in Tin Shui Wai. He died from head injuries in hospital.
Lawmaker Michael Luk Chung-hung, a member of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said he was saddened by the tragedy, and condemned rioters whose vandalistic acts indirectly killed the man.
A total of 41 people were injured in 20 road accidents due to traffic signal failures between June and November, according to official figures. On Oct 21, two double-decker buses collided in Ho Man Tin at a crossroad where traffic lights had been smashed, leaving 11 passengers and a driver hospitalized.
On Jan 5, police arrested two males, aged 13 and 15, for damaging the audible signals on traffic lights, which the force said severely inconvenienced residents with visual difficulties.
Since October last year, the police have received more than 1,100 reports related to criminal damage, an offense punishable by up to 10 years" imprisonment upon conviction. A total of 955 locations across the city were involved, with traffic facilities, eateries and bank branches bearing about 75 percent of the damage.
As of Jan 2, the police had arrested 6,943 people since massive anti-government protests first erupted on June 9. Nearly 1,100 have been charged with unlawful assembly, rioting, arson, assault causing bodily harm, assaulting police officers, possession of offensive weapons and criminal damage.event wristbands walmartdebossed rubber wristbandsblank wristbandswhere to buy rubber band bracelet kitbracelet montre silicone 14mm