Tourist who drove off in taxi gets suspended term

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 4:01am

A South African tourist who pulled a driver out of a taxi he had hired during the Rugby Sevens and drove off got a two-month suspended sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to drink-driving and other charges.

Craig Dixon, who had come to Hong Kong with friends to watch the city's biggest annual rugby event, earlier pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to taking a conveyance without authority, driving a vehicle with excess alcohol in his breath and using a vehicle without third-party insurance.

The tourist told police that he had drunk more than 12 beers and a shooter before the incident and could not remember anything following his hiring of the cab, a court document said.

Acting Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai handed him a two-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, disqualified him from driving for a year and fined him HK$7,000. She ordered that he surrender his driver's licence.

Dixon, 49, represented by Andrew Powner, was released after sentencing. He had been in custody since the incident on March 22. The court earlier heard he had boarded a cab driven by Chan Ho-shing, 57, in Wan Chai.

The driver "did not understand the defendant's English and had no idea about the defendant's destination", according to the document. Dixon said he would guide the driver, but later got out, pulled Chan from the cab and drove off. He was stopped at a toll booth on the Kowloon side of the central tunnel. A breathalyser test showed he had 69 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 22 mcg. A later test showed 58 mcg.