Paul Chan

Paul Chan Mo-po avoids drink-driving charge

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 4:45am

The Department of Justice has decided not to take any action against the development minister for driving after drinking beer in October.

It said yesterday that a video posted on the internet, allegedly showing Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po driving his car after consuming alcohol at a family lunch, "appeared to have been edited".

"Police could not obtain any further evidence or other assistance from the persons taking the footage or any other relevant persons," a spokeswoman for the department said.

"Given the limited evidence available, Director of Public Prosecutions Kevin Zervos SC … concluded that no further action is warranted."

The footage, posted by the Apple Daily in October last year, depicted in one instance Chan drinking beer in a restaurant with his family at the Jockey Club in Happy Valley, and in another, a person who looked like Chan driving his car and crossing double white lines on the road.

The newspaper claimed Chan drank a 550-millilitre glass of beer. It also alleged that he broke traffic regulations.

After the incident came to light, Chan admitted driving after consuming alcohol, but made a police report over the newspaper article. He said at the time that he was "confident" he was not over the legal limit.

Yesterday, Chan said he respected the department's decision. "I have also deeply reflected on the issue. I understand the people have expectations of political officials. I will stay alert and mind my actions and words. I agree that one shouldn't drive after drinking."

Earlier, police sources said it was unlikely that Chan would face a drink-driving charge because of the lack of a breathalyser test, but he could still face legal consequences for crossing double white lines.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, New People's Party lawmaker and former secretary for security, agreed that prosecution would be difficult if the department found "reasonable doubt" in the case.

Fellow legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Labour Party, said he doubted police had exhausted all the available means in their investigation.