Social media users are divided over a viral video posted last week of a Hong Kong taxi driver shouting and swearing at a Western man, set off by the latter’s alleged physical contact with the driver’s vehicle.
At about 2:30pm on June 15, the taxi, driving from Tai Yau Street to Sam Chuk Street in San Po Kong in Kowloon, passed closely by the Western man as he was crossing in the middle of the road, according to a post on a Facebook transport group.
The man who shot and uploaded the video of the encounter to Facebook, Robin Lo, said in his post that the Westerner appeared to be annoyed by the taxi and punched the rear part of the vehicle with his fist. The taxi driver stopped his vehicle and scolded the man in English, culminating with a string of obscenities.
The brief conversation between the two men is loosely transcribed as follows:
Pedestrian: I am walking…
Taxi driver: This is the road! It’s not a pedestrian! If you punch my car, you are illegal! It’s not right! It’s Hong Kong!
Pedestrian: What the hell? I live here.
Taxi driver: I don’t care you live here! You [inaudible] my car! This is criminal!
Taxi driver: This is criminal!
Pedestrian (walking away): [inaudible]
Taxi driver: Holy sh*t! F**k you! Stupid a**! F**k! Go back your country! Motherf**ker!
The video was reposted on the Facebook page of 100Most, a Hong Kong humor website, where it has been viewed 1.6 million times. Views among netizens were mixed.
Many were surprised by the middle-aged taxi driver’s proficiency in English, with some admitting to being capable of speaking only broken English. Some believed the taxi driver had the right to scold the man, as he had jaywalked and punched his car. Some said it was not clear who used foul language first.
Some commenters criticized the driver for being rude and damaging Hong Kong’s image as a destination for tourists. Some said the phrase “go back to your country” could be considered racist, while others suggested it might not be correct to label the pedestrian a “foreigner” as some non-Chinese families have lived in the city for generations.