CHINESE officials have refused permission for the medical evacuation to the territory of a senior Hong Kong police officer who suffered spinal injuries in a crash during the Hong Kong to Beijing rally. An order, said to have come from Beijing, has banned the landing of an Asia Emergency Assistance (AEA) jet at Wuhan airport because of new regulations restricting entry rights to private foreign aircraft. But early today, rally organisers finally received special permission to evacutate Chief Inspector Dave Thain, 43, of the Crime Prevention Bureau, on a commercial plane flown in from Beijing. He and three others in a marshalling car were injured when a truck loaded with bricks ploughed into their vehicle. Although Chief Inspector Thain was able to walk away from the wreckage, he later collapsed in hospital. X-rays showed he had a compressed fracture of the spine which needed expert medical attention. He can only be evacuated in a fixed stretcher and Chinese authorities agreed to allow the seats on a special commerical airliner to be removed so he could be flown to Hong Kong. Although he will not be accompanied by medical doctors or a spinal expert, an Automobile Association (AA) official is to fly to Wuhan today and accompany Inspector Thain back to the territory. The organisers of the event - the AA and the China Motor Sports Association (CMSA) - were understood to have a prearranged agreement with the Chinese that would automatically ensure AEA evacuation in the event of an emergency. However, the Sunday Morning Post has discovered this agreement was not finalised, and has resulted in Chief Inspector Thain being stranded in China for five days. All four passengers were unconscious for up to 15 minutes after the crash on Wednesday. When driver Ian Aspinall, a 53-year-old bus inspector with the Transport Department, regained consciousness, he helped the others out of the vehicle. Mr Aspinall and Detective Sergeant Chew Sam-chung, who was in the back seat, returned to Hong Kong on Friday. Sergeant Chew had a dislocated elbow and, like the others, suffered multiple lacerations and bruises. Barry Lea, a Hill Samuel regional director and a former policeman, stayed with Chief Inspector Thain. Both remained in Wuhan's Medical University hospital last night. Mr Lea, 38, is limping badly because of a damaged hip and is also thought to have cracked a bone in his elbow. He is furious with the organisers for providing what he says is inadequate emergency insurance - each official is covered by a basic $50,000 policy - and with the sponsors for failing to get them out of China. A Chinese official allegedly told the team they would be flown out when they first arrived at the hospital. An AEA jet was put on standby in Singapore, complete with a back specialist and all necessary equipment. ''Then they told us an order had been given not to let the jet land in Wuhan. When I asked why they said 'Beijing, Beijing'. ''Dave is getting more and more upset and his wife in Hong Kong is frantic. This is ridiculous. I'm furious.'' Mr Lea said at first ''they said they couldn't put us on a commercial flight direct to Hong Kong because they didn't like putting stretchers on commercial planes and anyway there weren't any seats''. ''Then they were going to put us in a military plane to Shenzhen and take us overland to Hong Kong. That also fell through. ''Finally, they told us we were being put on a 4 pm flight today [yesterday] to Beijing, and then fly us to Hong Kong on Sunday [today]. ''But it would mean he would be put on a plane here, taken off in Beijing and moved to a hospital, taken to the airport again the next day and put on another plane to Hong Kong.'' The two men were again let down yesterday when the plan fell through. But now they will be moved this morning. Chief Inspector Thain is a former Interpol officer and last night his wife, Helen, was planning to contact the agency in a desperate bid to getsomething moving. ''We are very upset that they can't come back. Barry said he could have come back on his own in a wheelchair, but he didn't want to leave Dave,'' Mrs Thain said. The AEA revealed last night there was no emergency evacuation agreement because the organisers had failed to provide information. ''There never was an agreement in place for the rally,'' said Hap Funk, AEA general manager Hong Kong. ''The organisers approached us to see if we could put a special evacuation policy together. ''We were able to do so but needed a whole lot of information from the organisers, who seemed to feel the race was on them and didn't have time. We never heard back.'' Mr Funk said once it was clear the Chinese would not let the AEA Learjet land in Wuhan, an alternative plan was put forward. ''We offered to charter a jet from Beijing to Wuhan, pick up the injured men, take them to Shenzhen and have a medical team meet them in a helicopter to take them to Hong Kong,'' he said. ''This was going to happen until the insurance company called and said the $50,000 individual cover the men had wasn't sufficient. ''We've got medical crew, we've got planes but no one is talking to us.'' Mr Funk was horrified when he learned of the Chinese plan to fly Chief Inspector Thain back to the territory. ''When you are moving a spinal patient you have to be very careful there is only limited movement, you certainly don't move them on and off commercial planes,'' he said. ''The longer that is prolonged and the more movement there is, the more dangerous it is. This isn't the way it should be done.'' Mrs Thain, who spoke to her husband last night, said: ''He was very miserable. I had spoken to him in the morning and he was cheerful because he was looking forward to flying out, [but] this evening he was depressed.'' She is furious with the bureaucratic bungling which has left her husband stranded in China. Additional reporting by Jessica Carter.