Hong Kong luxury car owners arrested in Shenzhen in China's 'biggest street-racing case'

Luxury car owners caught in mainland's 'biggest street-racing case' hit speeds of up to 275km/h

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 February, 2015, 12:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 February, 2015, 9:28am

Shenzhen authorities have slapped 13 Hong Kong luxury car owners with suspended jail sentences for speeding at up to 275km/h in what was described as the mainland’s “biggest street-racing case ever”.

The drivers – all Hong Kong permanent residents aged 38 to 62 – were sentenced to between one and four months’ jail, suspended for six months, for dangerous driving in an illegal race on the highway linking Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

The People’s Court of Bao’an district also fined them between 20,000 and 40,000 yuan (HK$25,000 to HK$50,000), Xie Xingming, deputy head of the department of the municipal commission of transport, told a press briefing yesterday.

Xie said this was the mainland’s biggest street-racing case in terms of “scale, number of vehicles involved, and potential dangers”.

The cars – Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens among them – were sent back to Hong Kong yesterday afternoon.

The drivers were also allowed to return to Hong Kong, but were banned from driving on the mainland for two years.

“The punishment is harsh. We’ve learned our lesson,” said one driver, identified only by his surname Chan. “We didn’t try to race and violate China’s law. We were going to Zhuhai but couldn’t help speeding as the highway is so flat, wide and straight.”

But Xie said the drivers raced each other for an extended period of time, heedless of the safety of the other vehicles on the road.

“It happened at noon. Several local drivers called the police after seeing them race,” he said.

Xie said the cars raced on the S3 highway at an average speed of 195km/h, with the fastest going beyond 224km/h, on November 6. The next day, the cars raced at an average speed of 214km/h and hit a top speed of 275km/h.

The highway, which runs along the coast of the Pearl River estuary, has a speed limit of 100km/h.

The drivers were arrested at the border when they tried to return to Hong Kong over the next few days, and had been detained in Shenzhen since then.

On the mainland, those caught driving dangerously – including speeding, racing or drunk driving – face a short jail term and a fine, although the amounts are not specified.

The mainland enacted the law in 2010 in the wake of a spate of high-speed driving incidents that resulted in major fatal accidents.

In 2009, a Hangzhou college student from an affluent family rammed into a pedestrian, killing him, after his souped-up Mitsubishi sports car mounted a footpath at high speed.

The incident led to public demands for the law to be enforced more rigorously against speeding drivers.

In a further measure to deal with errant drivers, Shenzhen police are offering people 2,000 yuan for tip-offs about illegal racing. Informants who give clues in cases of major traffic accidents can get up to 20,000 yuan.