Couple admit lying about who was driving car after running down two women in SoHo

Pair will be sentenced on October 14 after the incident last year where two British women were injured, one seriously

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 6:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 11:01pm

A young couple who lost control of their Mercedes Benz before driving into two British women in the SoHo area of Central last September admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice by lying about who was driving at the time.

The District Court heard that passers-by ran for safety as the car hurtled down Aberdeen Street without slowing down at a stop sign after 11pm on September 26.

The vehicle eventually struck two young British nationals, Rebecca Pawsey and Karen Thomas, who were standing outside the PMQ. Both women fell to the ground, and Thomas was knocked unconscious.

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The car, along with a lamp post, a sign, a store and nearby railings were damaged.

Eye-witnesses then saw Terence Chong get out of the car from the front passenger seat, and his long-time girlfriend Wong Cheuk-yin, got out from the driver’s side.

But Wong told police at the scene that she was the passenger, while Chong claimed that he was the driver and then passed a breathalyser test. They clarified their roles with police months after the incident, before misleading the court.

Wong, 30, on Monday pleaded guilty to one count of careless driving and one count of conspiring to pervert the course of justice that was jointly charged with Chong, 32, who also pleaded guilty.

Citing the Court of Appeal’s guidelines, deputy District Judge Ko Wai-hung said perverting the course of justice was a very serious offence punishable by immediate imprisonment even for first-time offenders with good character.

“At this stage I am inclined to sentence you to immediate imprisonment, but I will seek a community service order [sentencing] report at your counsel’s request,” Ko said, before he adjourned sentencing to October 14 and remanded the pair.

Defence counsel Wong Man-kit SC had told him that both of his clients were extremely remorseful.

“The defendants repeatedly requested that their counsel express in court their most sincere apologies towards the victims,” he said. “They prayed for their recovery every day.”

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Prosecutors said both victims, who were in Hong Kong on working visas, were recovering from multiple injuries. While Pawsey suffered abrasions and bruises, Thomas was at one point sent to intensive care in a critical condition, with internal bleeding, bone fractures, tendon and skin injuries.

The lawyer claimed Wong was driving into Aberdeen Street from Staunton Street when the front of the car crashed into a curb on the left side of the road because her vision was obscured by a yellow hydrant and the dizzying headlights of another car.

She then panicked and lost control of the vehicle, which accelerated due to the steepness of the slope and prompted Chong to steer the car to the other side of the road in attempt to stop, but to no avail.

“The [other] offence was committed out of extreme fear and confusion,” the lawyer continued. “[Wong’s] intention stemmed only from [the fact that he was] too loving and protective of his girlfriend.”