Driver admits to causing death of ex-hotelier Sonny Lien in 2013 traffic accident

Michael Teo Wee Hian, 65, accused for causing death to a pedestrian Lien Tiong Wah, 78, at Ulu Pandan Road. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Michael Teo Wee Hian, 65, accused for causing death to a pedestrian Lien Tiong Wah, 78, at Ulu Pandan Road. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Pioneering hotelier Sonnie Lien. A 65-year-old man has admitted to causing his death in a 2013 road accident. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN
Pioneering hotelier Sonnie Lien. A 65-year-old man has admitted to causing his death in a 2013 road accident. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE - A 65-year-old man has admitted to causing the death of ex-hotelier Sonnie Lien in a 2013 road accident.

Michael Teo Wee Hian failed to keep a proper lookout when driving along Ulu Pandan Road towards Holland Road on Nov 11, 2013.

Around 9.40pm, he collided into 78-year-old Mr Lien, one of the sons of late tycoon and philantrophist Lien Ying Chow.

Mr Lien died in hospital an hour later from multiple injuries.

On Tuesday, the court heard that Teo was driving on the rightmost lane when he spotted Mr Lien, who was standing on the leftmost lane. He looked away from Mr Lien and maintained a speed of about 50kmh, which was under the limit of 60kmh, while preparing to turn into Holland Grove Road.

But Teo did not notice that Mr Lien had started crossing the road and could not stop in time.

Arguing that Teo should be fined the maximum $1,000 and banned from driving for six months, Deputy Public Proecutor Houston Johannus said there was little reason for Teo not to have looked out for Mr Lien if he had been paying due care and attention while driving. He highlighted that the weather was fine and there were no other vehicles around them at the time.

Teo, the regional manager of a multi-national firm, could be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 under the Road Traffic Act.

He will be sentenced on March 26.

Mr Lien, who had retired more than a decade ago, was general manager of the Mandarin Singapore hotel for 15 years. He also set up two consultancies to develop and run hotels and resorts worldwide, and had other private businesses, including a chain of dry cleaners.

His late father founded Overseas Union Bank, which was Singapore's fourth largest bank until it was acquired by United Overseas Bank in 2001. Mr Lien Ying Chow died in 2004.