Taiji master got student to take rap for fatal car crash

A taiji master who drove while under a driving ban and caused the death of a pedestrian got his student to take the rap for it.

Businessman and taiji master Tung Eng Hwa drove on Nov 24, 2014 while serving a 21-month ban handed to him five months earlier for drink driving.

Yesterday, the 54-year-old was jailed for five months and banned from driving for eight years after admitting to negligently causing the death of Madam Tan Kim Siew, 74, driving under disqualification, and giving false information to the police.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Clement Yong said that on the day of the accident, Tung tried unsuccessfully for 30 minutes to hail a taxi before he decided to drive his Lexus car, as he was running late for a taiji class he was conducting at Lorong M Telok Kurau that evening.

At about 8.50pm along Still Road, he failed to keep a proper lookout and his car hit Madam Tan who was flung to the side and landed on the centre divider.

She died from multiple injuries in hospital about an hour later.

Meanwhile, Tung's student, Han Chin Kwang, 55, a tooling engineer and part-time taiji instructor, received a message asking him to go to the accident scene.

Tung told him about the driving ban and, fearing that he would go to jail, asked Han to take the blame for the accident. Han agreed to do so.

Han told the truth only when he went to give further details about the accident on Dec 8 that year.

Last month, Han was fined $4,000 for lying to the police, with two other similar charges considered during sentencing.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo agreed with the prosecution that a stiff sentence was warranted for Tung.

She said that because of Tung's own selfish act, he had got his friend into trouble too.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Taiji master got student to take rap for fatal car crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe