Ferrari crash: Parents of victim seek $700k from driver's estate

The Ferrari being towed from the scene of the accident, which took place at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street in May 2012. Mr Ma Chi, driver of the sports car, cabby Mr Cheng Teck Hock and his Japanese passenger Shigemi Ito died in the
The Ferrari being towed from the scene of the accident, which took place at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street in May 2012. Mr Ma Chi, driver of the sports car, cabby Mr Cheng Teck Hock and his Japanese passenger Shigemi Ito died in the accident. -- PHOTO: WANBAO FILE

Before 41-year-old Shigemi Ito was killed in the shocking Rochor Road crash two years ago, she promised her parents a new flat.

Now, the Japanese woman's elderly parents want the driver's estate to help make good on the gift. They are seeking more than $700,000 from the estate of Chinese national Ma Chi, who ran a red light in May 2012 while travelling at 178kmh in his $1.8 million Ferrari 599 GTO and smashed into a taxi.

The Singaporean cabby, Mr Cheng Teck Hock, 52, was killed along with his passenger, Ms Ito.

In January, a banker with DBS Bank, Mr Thio Tse Chong, launched proceedings in the High Court on behalf of Ms Ito's parents, Mr Machihiko Ito and Madam Kazue Ito.

The insurer of Mr Ma's Ferrari, AXA Insurance Singapore, represented by Mr K. Anparasan of KhattarWong law firm, is defending the claim on behalf of Mr Ma's estate.

The writ of summons included the ways Ms Ito, who was studying here to be an interior designer, had looked after her parents.

The couple, who live in Japan and are now in their 70s, used to visit her three to four times a year. Each time, she would give them $2,000 to support themselves with. She would also send a parcel of medical and health supplements worth around $450 to them in Japan around three to four times a year.

Before she was killed, she was planning to purchase a residential apartment in Japan for her parents. The new home was valued at approximately $850,000. She had already set aside around $400,000 for the purchase.

Other claims include travelling expenses incurred by Mr Thio and his brother when they went to Japan for Ms Ito's funeral.

When asked about Mr Thio's relationship with Ms Ito, his lawyer Adeline Wong of Legal Ink Law Corp said Mr Thio declined to comment.

AXA's spokesman saidthe insurer was in talks with the "family's representatives for a resolution that is fair and favourable".

The accident sparked an uproar in both Singapore and China, with the driver being accused as a "road rebel" and "speed demon".

A coroner's inquiry in 2012 concluded it would have been extremely difficult for Mr Ma, who died in the accident, to react to any road conditions, given the speed at which he was going.

The speed limit for the area where the crash took place is 60kmh. The crash also injured Mr Ma's female passenger Wu Weiwei, then 23, and passing motorcyclist Muhammad Najib Ghazali, then 26.

joycel@sph.com.sg