Zouk founder pleads guilty to drink driving

Zouk founder Ching Ling Ka, better known as Lincoln Cheng, pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday (Oct 31) to drink driving.
Zouk founder Ching Ling Ka, better known as Lincoln Cheng, pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday (Oct 31) to drink driving.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Zouk founder Ching Ling Ka, better known as Lincoln Cheng, now 70, pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday (Oct 31) 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 which were also showing the red light signal.

Again, he ignored the lights and continued driving.

DPP Choong said: "The traffic-light signals at both T-junctions were already red when the accused was approaching them."

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 impact of the collision caused the taxi to veer off course. It mounted a kerb before hitting a metal pole which was 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 that he had 43 micrograms of alcohol in every 100ml of breath. This exceeded the prescribed limit of 35mcg of alcohol in the same amount of breath.

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

Ching's lawyer, Mr Kesavan Nair, pleaded for his client to either be jailed for a day or given the maximum fine of $5,000.

He did not dispute the length of disqualification and said that Ching was remorseful.

The founder of the iconic nightspot, who has made full restitution of almost $21,000 to SMRT, will be sentenced on Nov 22.

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