Unmoved by paparazzi excuse, court fines actress for accident

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 May, 2006, 12:00am

A former beauty queen who claimed she crashed her car while she was distracted by pursuing paparazzi was fined yesterday for careless driving and failing to stop after an accident or report it.

Sheila Chin Suk-lan, also known as Lan Tsee, first runner-up to Miss Hong Kong of 1988, was fined $9,000 on the three charges and promised to pay $5,000 for damage to government property.

She had pleaded not guilty, claiming she had been frightened by the paparazzi and had crashed her car into a pole in Wan Chai while making calls to friends about them.

But Kwun Tong deputy special magistrate Glorian Hui Ying-ying said the actress and radio host had been careless.

The court heard Chin's car hit a metal pole and flower bed outside the China Resources Building in Harbour Drive early on May 21 last year.

Chin left her car at the scene and asked her male passenger to call police. She said she had to leave because of a severe stomach ache.

When police called her later, Chin admitted she was the driver but said she could not return to the scene because she was having supper with friends at Happy Valley.

She reported to the police 12 hours later.

Ms Hui said the accident happened because Chin was not concentrating on her driving. Chin had been aware that the accident had resulted in property damage and her explanation for the delays in reporting the case was irrational.

Under the Road Traffic Ordinance, parties involved in traffic accidents should report them in person at the nearest police station or to a police officer as soon as reasonably practicable within 24 hours of the accident.