Insurance agent charged with drink driving in Tanjong Pagar accident which injured 4

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SINGAPORE: The 41-year-old man behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz that ploughed into pedestrians at Tanjong Pagar Road on Thursday evening (Dec 7) was charged on Friday with drink driving.

Lim Kwong Fei, an insurance agent at Great Eastern, allegedly mounted the centre divider, drove against the flow of traffic and ploughed into four pedestrians on the traffic island.

He then hit a lorry and upon impact, veered to the left, mounting the centre divider again and colliding onto the rear of a taxi, Lim’s charge sheet stated. 

The pedestrians – three Singaporeans and an Australian – are still warded at Singapore General Hospital, where they were brought following the accident.

A 56-year-old man is in the ICU with bleeding in the brain. His 23-year-old daughter suffered lacerations and abrasions. A 40-year-old Australian man suffered a spinal cord injury. The fourth victim, a 29-year-old man, sustained a nasal fracture.

Dozens of witnesses saw the collision, which took place at just outside Amara Hotel at about 6.30pm.

Crowds gathered around the site of the accident at Tanjong Pagar. (Photo: Brenda Har)

Lim was arrested at the scene.

He appeared in court on Friday looking dishevelled after a night in custody. He told the court he would engage a lawyer, and that he has not decided whether he will plead guilty to the charge. 

Lim, who was offered bail at S$15,000, will next appear in court on Jan 18. 

A police prosecutor said Lim may face more charges. 

A video circulating on social media on Thursday showed a man in a black suit sitting behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz looking dazed as paramedics tended to those injured beside the car.

The front licence plate of the Mercedes-Benz could be seen on the road along with other bits of debris. In front of the car was a red TransCab taxi, which appeared to have sustained damage to its rear.

A Mercedes car is towed away after an accident along Tanjong Pagar Road on Dec 7, 2017. (Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY)

For drink driving, Lim could be jailed for up to six months or fined S$1,000 to S$5,000.

For a second or subsequent conviction, drink drivers face up to 12 months’ jail and a fine of S$3,000 to S$10,000.

The High Court set new sentencing guidelines for drink drivers in July. 

Drink drivers who damage property or injure someone should expect to serve time in jail, except in an exceptional category of cases, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon had said.

How much time will depend on the severity of injury, how much alcohol the driver had consumed and how dangerously he was driving.

The number of people imprisoned for drink driving more than tripled from around 50 in 2014 to nearly 190 last year.

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