Taxi driver jailed after fatal ‘ghost crash’
A taxi driver with a long record of dangerous driving was sentenced to 20 months in jail on Friday, after he let a radio ghost story distract him enough to crash his cab, killing a passenger.
Chui Hon-kwong, 63, also had his driver’s licence revoked for six years for causing death by dangerous driving.
Chui told police earlier that he thought he had seen ghosts, while listening to a horror programme, as he drove a young couple on the Kwun Tong Bypass at about 3am on April 16 last year.
District Court Judge Eddie Yip Chor-man said the horror programme had distracted Chui from his driving.
“There is nothing much to criticise if a taxi driver listens to a radio programme. But the defendant still listened [to ghost stories] even [though] he felt scared. [Nervousness] will raise bogies [in the mind],” he said.
The court heard that, in his distracted state of mind, Chui over-reacted to sniggering coming from the back seat. In the mirror he could only see the hair on top of two heads, so he swivelled around to take a look.
He discovered the young couple had slumped low on the seat.
As he turned back again, he saw a truck had stalled on the road ahead of him, but there was no time to evade it. The cab hit the truck and killed the male passenger, 24, and injured his girlfriend, 18.
The court heard that Chui should have noticed the truck driver waving 273 metres ahead of him – giving him eight seconds to react before he looked into the back seat. Yip criticised Chui for his “complete negligence” of the road situation ahead.
”He heard the sniggering. He ignored the fact that he was driving at a speed of 70 km/h and used at least eight seconds to inspect something unrelated to the traffic situation,” he said.
The court heard that Chui had at least nine previous traffic offences, including careless driving and speeding.
Yip said he considered Chui’s poor driving record, his persistently very bad driving habits and the fact that he was listening to the radio as factors for lengthening his sentence.
He sentenced Chui to 30 months, reducing it by one-third because Chui pleaded guilty. He ordered Chui’s driving licence to be revoked for six years, and ordered him to take mandatory driving improvement course.
Celebrated radio host Lee Wai-ling, a long-term customer of Chui, had written to Yip to plead for leniency.
Family members of the deceased man were saddened by the sentence. One of them said it was too lenient.