Nine drivers booked for speeding urged to contact the police

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am

Police yesterday urged nine people caught speeding by a laser gun whose operation was successfully challenged later by a tycoon to contact them for a possible review of their cases.

However, they insisted the guns were accurate and said guidelines that deviated from the manufacturer's manual had been scrapped to avoid further disputes.

Lawyers for Lai Sun Development chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok recently convinced the court that the results shown on the laser gun that found him speeding at 114km/h in a 50km/h zone were flawed because police were not properly trained in using the guns.

On hearing that argument, prosecutors reduced the charge, which would have cost Mr Lam his licence, Mr Lam pleaded guilty to driving at 79km/h and he was fined HK$450 fine and had three penalty points added to his licence.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Peter Yam Tat-wing, speaking on the sidelines of a charity event yesterday, reiterated that although the guidelines used in Mr Lam's case were different from the manufacturer's, laser guns used by the police force to detect speeding were accurate.

The public might be under the 'illusion' that the readings shown on the devices could be inaccurate based on a legal technicality, Mr Yam said.

He added that only the New Territories South branch had used guidelines different from the manufacturer's, but they had since fallen in line with the rest of the force.

The police have set up a hotline for anyone who felt their fixed-penalty speeding ticket was incorrect. The number is 28606349.

So far, about 60 calls had been placed, Mr Yam said.

He would not say, however, whether they included the nine people caught on the same day Mr Lam was detected by the same laser gun.

He urged the nine concerned to contact the police and make their case as soon as possible so reviews could be considered.

He also stressed that a review of laser-gun guidelines - announced last week amid public concern over the legitimacy of speeding tickets - would soon be completed to ensure all officers were trained using the same set of rules.

In the hearing against Mr Lam, Senior Constable Chan Tak-cheung admitted conducting a scope-alignment test of the laser gun - to ensure it fell on the right target - from 60 metres, rather than the required 200 metres, 'for the sake of convenience'. But police have said the distance to the target would not affect the gun's readings.

The Justice Department said the evidence presented by the prosecution was weaker than expected so the original charge could not be substantiated.