Jail for minibus driver on ketamine

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 February, 2011, 12:00am

A minibus driver who drove erratically after snorting kematine and ignored passengers asking to get off, was jailed for 20 months yesterday.

Lam Sai-on, 34, was found slumped semiconscious at the steering wheel of a green minibus after it crashed into a parked car in Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, on October 31 last year.

The 10 passengers on board managed to get off the minibus, before it crashed, when a person pulled a handle to open the door, the District Court heard.

Lam had been driving in a strange manner, the court was told. At one stage he drove slowly, then he suddenly hit the brakes before accelerating again.

After all the passengers left the minibus, Lam drove slowly before hitting the car, which was slightly damaged, the court heard.

Police officers arrested him after finding white powder, which was later confirmed to be ketamine, in a straw on this thigh and a plastic bag containing drugs.

Lam told police he did not know he had crashed. Lam said he felt confused and dizzy as he drove. He said he took drugs after he had an argument with his girlfriend the night before and again before he started work.

Lam said he was remorseful and apologised to the passengers yesterday after pleading guilty to possession of dangerous drugs and driving under the influence of a drug.

In sentencing, Judge David Lok Kai-hong said Lam's offences were 'among the worst of its kind' given that he was an occupational driver.

Lok criticised Lam for driving irresponsibly and recklessly, which endangered the safety of the passengers and other motorists.

Commenting on the maximum sentence of three years' jail for driving under the influence of a drug, the judge said: 'I doubt very much the present penalty could reflect the gravity of the offence.'

He jailed Lam for 10 months for possessing 0.75 grams of ketamine and 20 months for driving under the influence of a drug. The terms were ordered to run concurrently.

Lam was also banned from driving for four years. He must pass a driving test before he is able to get behind the wheel again. Of the 10 criminal records against Lam, four involved possession of a drug and two were careless driving offences.