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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong man jailed after letting friend’s 10-year-old son drive car, leading to crash

Court fines construction worker HK$2,000, jails him for six weeks and bans him from driving for a year after Tsuen Wan crash

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 7:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 11:20pm

A construction worker who allowed his friend’s 10-year-old son to drive a car that ended up in an accident was jailed for six weeks, fined HK$2,000 (US$255) and disqualified from driving for 12 months by a court on Monday.

Tse Kwok-yau, 46, had pleaded for leniency as he explained in mitigation that he had learned it was wrong for him to foolishly grant permission in response to the boy’s repeated requests.

But Magistrate Winnie Lau Yee-wan said imprisonment was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the crime that jeopardised the safety of the defendant and the boy, as well as the other cars and passers-by at the scene.

Sha Tin Court heard the accident took place shortly after 9pm in a multi-storey car park in Tsuen Wan on February 4 when Tse permitted the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to take the wheel while he sat on the front passenger seat.

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The car crashed into an unattended vehicle parked on the same floor.

An eyewitness called the police immediately, while the boy fled the scene. Tse was arrested on the same night.

An examination by the Transport Department found the car driven by the boy had an inoperative stop lamp and another inoperative rear lamp.

Tse later identified the boy as the driver at the time of accident and admitted that he was the person in charge of the vehicle.

He pleaded guilty last week to four charges: permitting another to use a motor vehicle without third-party insurance and without a licence, failing to maintain a stop lamp in a clean and efficient condition and causing another to use a vehicle which was not in a good and serviceable condition.

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Meanwhile, the boy was cautioned for careless driving, and driving without a licence and third-party insurance.

Under the Juvenile Offenders Ordinance, it is conclusively presumed that no child under the age of 10 can be guilty of an offence.

Permitting another to use a motor vehicle without a licence is punishable by a HK$5,000 fine and three months’ imprisonment on first conviction.