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Singapore

Driver in Lucky Plaza crash that killed two sentenced to jail

SINGAPORE: The driver involved in a fatal crash at Lucky Plaza that claimed the lives of two maids and injured four others has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail on Friday (Sep 24).

Chong Kim Hoe, a 66-year-old Malaysian, will also be disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 10 years upon his release from prison. 

He pleaded guilty to one count under the Road Traffic Act for dangerous driving causing death. 

A black car (circled) is seen a moment before crashing into a group of women on the footpath (top right) outside Lucky Plaza, in leaked CCTV footage of the accident.

The court heard that on Dec 29, 2019, the former private-hire car driver had received a booking on Orchard Road while driving along Nutmeg Road behind Lucky Plaza. 

Chong accidentally engaged the accelerator while making a U-turn, resulting in his vehicle mounting the footway, going through a guard rail and landing on the service road at Lucky Plaza. 

The accident resulted in the deaths of two women - Abigail Danao Leste, 41, and Arlyn Picar Nucos, 50 - and injuring four others. 

All six women were foreign domestic workers from the Philippines.

Chong’s lawyer, Kalaithasan Karuppaya of Regent Law, called for leniency for his client, whom he noted had been “wallowing in regret and anxiety” following the incident. 

Chong had cooperated with authorities and did not flee from the scene, he said.

His culpability was low, said Mr Kalaithasan, adding Chong had been driving for 44 years and had not had any serious accidents prior to the crash almost two years ago.

The court heard, however, that Chong had been fined on four previous occasions for failing to stop at red traffic lights. 

In passing his sentence, District Judge Koo Zhi Xuan noted that while Chong’s culpability may have been low, the harm caused was high. 

 

The accident was a sobering reminder of the responsibility of road users towards others, he said, adding that the families of the deceased had to face the “tragic reality that their mother, sister or daughter would not be coming back”.

For causing death while driving a motor vehicle, Chong could have been jailed up to eight years.

Source: CNA/az(gr)

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