Motorist in 2017 Tanjong Pagar crash consumed alcohol before car ploughed into 4 pedestrians

Lim Kwong Fei, 42, pleaded guilty in court on March 29, 2019, to drink driving and being incapable of having proper control of his car.
Lim Kwong Fei, 42, pleaded guilty in court on March 29, 2019, to drink driving and being incapable of having proper control of his car.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An insurance agent had consumed alcohol and was driving his car along Tanjong Pagar Road on Dec 7, 2017 when it ploughed into four pedestrians standing on a centre divider.

Three men suffered serious injuries including multiple fractures. The accident also left two of them with brain injuries.

The third man developed kidney function problems and lost control of his bowels while he was warded.

The court heard that the fourth pedestrian, a 24-year-old woman, suffered multiple abrasions and now has "very substantial psychiatric difficulties" following the accident.

The motorist, Lim Kwong Fei, 42, pleaded guilty in court on Friday (March 29) to drink driving and being incapable of having proper control of his car.

One count each of causing grievous injuries to the three men by negligent driving as well as driving against the flow of traffic will be considered during sentencing.

A third charge of causing injuries to the woman will also be taken into consideration.

A search on the General Insurance Association Of Singapore's website did not reveal any information about Lim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jarret Huang said that Lim was on a private yacht on the day of the accident where he consumed at least three cans of beer and a glass of red wine.

He left the Marina at Keppel Bay at around 5pm and drove home to the nearby Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium. After that, he decided to drive to his office at Guoco Tower in Wallich Street near Maxwell Road for an event.

The DPP said that Lim was "driving at a fast speed relative to the other cars" along Tanjong Pagar Road towards Neil Road when an eyewitness spotted his car moving in a zig-zag manner. Court documents did not state the speed it was travelling at.

At around 6.20pm, it mounted a centre divider and ploughed into Singaporeans Ms Merlyn Lim Wei Xuan, 24 and Mr Lim Yew Beng, 57; Myanmar national Nay Lin Tun, 30; and Mr Martin Guillian Noel Faron, a 41-year-old Australian tourist who was in Singapore to celebrate his birthday.

DPP Huang said: "The accused continued driving his vehicle at some speed off the centre divider, onto the other side of the road... for about a further 20m, albeit against the flow of traffic."

Even though his car later collided into the right side of a lorry, Lim continued driving in "an unsteady fashion" against the traffic flow.

The DPP added: "The accused then swerved suddenly to the left, mounting another centre divider... and landing onto his original side of the road, towards Neil Road."

Lim's car hit the rear of a taxi before he finally stopped his vehicle. The police were alerted and officers arrested Lim after he failed a breathalyser test.

He took another test at the Traffic Police headquarters in Ubi Avenue 3 at around 8.20pm and was found with at least 31 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. This is slightly lower than the prescribed limit of 35 microgrammes.

The four pedestrian were rushed to hospital where they warded for between one and 22 days.

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Mr Lim and Mr Nay Lin Tun suffered brain injuries and multiple fractures. After the accident, Mr Lim was unable to carry out basic tasks like bathing and feeding himself.

Mr Nay Lin Tun faced difficulties when carrying heavy objects. Mr Faron, who has since returned to Australia, is not back to full work capacity due to continued weakness in his back.

On Friday, DPP Huang urged District Judge Lorraine Ho to sentence Lim to five months' jail and disqualify him from driving all classes of vehicles for five years.

He said that the four pedestrians suffered injuries and that Lim also caused nearly $17,000 in damages to the two vehicles his car hit.

Lim was represented by lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation.

They argued for their client to be sentenced to not more than 14 weeks' jail with five years' disqualification from driving all classes of vehicles.

The lawyers stressed that Lim's alcohol level after he got caught was "very low".

He is now out on bail of $15,000 and will be sentenced on April 1.

First-time offenders convicted of drink driving can be jailed for up to six months or fined between $1,000 and $5,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined between $3,000 and $10,000.