Viral Hong Kong video of woman standing up through car sunroof on highway prompts warning

A viral video showing a woman standing up through the sunroof of a car while it drives along a Hong Kong highway has prompted a warning from an expert over legal and safety concerns.

The video, which was widely shared online although it was not clear when it was shot, shows a woman protruding out of the sunroof of a black Mercedes-Benz and appearing to use her smartphone.

The car had both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese number plates. The Hong Kong plate had the prefix “FV”, which is assigned to non-commercial vehicles brought into the city for a short stay, according to the Transport Department.

“Incredible, this is incredible, it is like a sightseeing vehicle,” said a person in the background of the 23-second-long video clip.

Ringo Lee Yiu-pui, honorary life president of Hong Kong, China Automobile Association, said the person risked their own safety and could face legal consequences.

“This is not good behaviour,” Lee said.

“Firstly, this is wrong behaviour according to traffic regulations. Second, in terms of personal safety, it is a very big problem.”

Lee noted that it was illegal for passengers and drivers of most vehicles in Hong Kong not to wear a seat belt if provided with one. The driver of the vehicle could also find themselves in trouble for driving while their passenger was not wearing a belt.

The Road Users’ Code states that any driver “must not allow passengers to hold the steering wheel or to lean out of a window”.

He added he had only seen similar behaviour during major events or parades, where people might put their heads outside the sunroof to wave and greet the public.

Under local laws, only passengers of public buses, public light buses or taxis are not allowed to lean out or put any limb out of the vehicle in such a way as to “overhang the road”.

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Lee also cautioned against the behaviour because of potential safety issues, such as the woman being flung out of the vehicle if they crashed or the driver braked.

“If the driver were to step on the brakes, there is a chance that the passenger would get flung out of the car easily, as they are not wearing a seat belt and their hands, head and shoulders are sticking out of the vehicle,” he said.

“I think getting a [penalty] ticket is one thing, but this raises a very big alert in terms of personal safety.”

Lee said the city’s lack of surveillance cameras on its highways compared with the mainland also could have contributed to behaviour, as drivers and passengers might feel they could take advantage of the lack of coverage and test the law.

According to a reply from Hong Kong police, they could not provide any details on the incident as they did not have any information on the case.

Additional reporting by Kahon Chan

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