Traffic case against think tank member Sophia Kao dropped
Authorities lack proof to pursue magazine's claim that Sophia Kao violated traffic rules
The justice department has decided not to pursue a government think-tank member's alleged breach of traffic rules reported in a magazine last year.
Next Magazine had filed a complaint to the police against the Central Policy Unit's Sophia Kao Ching-chi in December after the publication ran a brief report with a picture showing what appeared to be Kao's car straddling double white lines.
In a follow-up report in January, the magazine claimed that Kao admitted she was driving the car at the time but that she could not be sure if she had indeed breached any traffic rules.
In a statement yesterday, a Department of Justice spokesman said no further action was warranted in the case because of the lack of sufficient evidence.
He said the Next Magazine reporter who had filed the complaint refused to give a police statement and that the magazine declined to help in the investigation. In addition, the driver of a coach behind Kao's car at the time did not recall anything of significance, he said.
"It is not possible to ascertain the exact circumstances of the incident, nor will there be any witness willing to testify even if the matter is brought before a court," said the spokesman.
"In view of the lack of sufficient evidence, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Kevin Zervos SC, after carefully considering the matter according to established legal principles ... concluded that no further action was warranted."
Kao, a human resources expert, was appointed to the Central Policy Unit last year. But the opposition camp criticised the move, saying her appointment had been based more on her loyalty to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying than her ability.
Kao could not be reached for comment last night.
Her case is similar to Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po's alleged drink-driving saga in October.
Apple Daily - Next Magazine's sister publication - had run a report with pictures claiming that Chan had consumed alcohol before driving. It also alleged that the official broke traffic rules by crossing double white lines while on the road.
The justice department did not pursue the case as it said the video that Apple Daily posted online appeared to have been edited and that the newspaper had declined to assist in police investigation into the matter.