Old Scene of New Market Road/Majestic Theatre
Death of Pirate Taxi Driver – Murder ? Culpable Homicide ? Grievous Hurt ?
Before People’s Park Complex was developed there used to be road between Majestic Theatre and the then People’s Park Market. Pirate taxis (霸王车) which plied between North Bridge Road (Xiao Po) and Chinatown (Ta Po) will stop in front of People’s Park Market to drop off or pick up passengers. Each passenger paid 20 cts for the trip. It was a popular, convenient and cheap form of transportation, albeit not very comfortable as one had to squeeze in between a few other strangers in the pirate taxi.
One day there was a dispute between a pirate taxi driver and his passenger over whether the latter paid his 20 cts fare. A quarrel broke out between the two men and it spilled out onto the road kerb. It seemed the passenger gave the driver a push with his fingers. It caused the taxi driver to fall backwards. Shockingly, the driver died when he slumped to the ground. The Police came and the passenger was promptly arrested.
In Court he was charged with murder. It was subsequently reduced to culpable homicide, not amounting to murder. Surprisingly the man’s inexperienced lawyer advised him to plea guilty to the homicide charge. The Court then sentenced him to 6 years in jail.
While much of the facts of the case were not available, it would appear that a more appropriate charge should be at most – causing grievous hurt. A charge which carries a maximum of 4 years jail and $10,000 fine.