Zouk founder admits to drink driving

Lincoln Cheng said he had been drinking before he drove on Feb 15. He will be sentenced on Nov 22.
Lincoln Cheng said he had been drinking before he drove on Feb 15. He will be sentenced on Nov 22.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He ran two sets of red lights along Eu Tong Sen Street before colliding into a taxi

Zouk founder Ching Ling Ka, better known as Lincoln Cheng, has admitted in court that he had been drinking before he got behind the wheel in February.

While driving along Eu Tong Sen Street, he ran two sets of red lights before colliding into a taxi.

Ching, now 70, pleaded guilty yesterday to drink driving. One count of dangerous driving will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong said Ching had dinner at an Ion Orchard restaurant on Feb 15, where he drank two glasses of red wine. He then left the shopping centre in his car and headed home.

Ching was driving along Eu Tong Sen Street towards Hill Street at around midnight when he reached some traffic lights at a T-junction by Pearl's Hill Terrace. He failed to stop even though the lights were red.

He soon reached another set of traffic lights at a T-junction by Kreta Ayer Road that were also showing the red light signal. Again, he ignored the lights and continued driving.

Mr Sydney Baylon John, 71, was driving an SMRT taxi along Kreta Ayer Road at around the same time.

The lights were green in his favour and he was making a right turn into Eu Tong Sen Street when Ching's car collided into the left side of his vehicle. The taxi mounted a kerb before hitting a metal pole supporting a sheltered walkway.

The court heard that according to SMRT, it would cost about $21,000 to repair the taxi.

"The victim stated that he experienced some pain in his left leg after the accident but did not seek medical attention," said DPP Choong.

A Traffic Police officer who was deployed to the scene noticed that Ching reeked of alcohol. He was arrested after failing a breathalyser test. Ching was taken to the Traffic Police Department for another test, which revealed he had 43 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol in every 100ml of breath. This exceeded the prescribed limit of 35mcg.

Stressing that Ching had run two sets of traffic lights, DPP Choong urged the court to sentence him to a week in jail and disqualify him from driving for three years.

Ching, who has made full restitution of almost $21,000 to SMRT, will be sentenced on Nov 22.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Zouk founder admits to drink driving'. Print Edition | Subscribe