A Singaporean tourist who fled the country without paying reparation to a Wakatipu crash victim claims he intends to pay.
Mountain Scene reported last week Teck Kai Wong T-boned Eliza Anderson’s $5000 car when he failed to give way in his rented luxury motor home at Speargrass Flat and Lower Shotover Roads’ intersection on June 6. Both cars were written off.
Wong was convicted of careless driving and ordered to pay $5000 reparation in Christchurch District Court. He paid $1000 immediately but has since left for his home in Singapore.
Last week, seriously-injured Anderson told Mountain Scene it was crazy Wong had been allowed by the courts to leave the country before she got all the reparation from him.
However, a Singapore publication The New Paper – which followed up Mountain Scene’s story after seeing it online – located Wong, who says he isn’t running away from the outstanding $4000 fine.
Wong, a research and development manager in Singapore, told The New Paper he intends to pay it off by July 10 – the due date.
Wong declined to comment further.
Anderson is happy pressure has been put on Wong to pay up but she isn’t getting her hopes up too much, she says.
“His actions in this case speak louder than his words; I guess we just have to wait and see.
“Just because he’s said that to a Singapore paper doesn’t mean he’s going to go through with it,” she says.
“The media in this case is proving more powerful than the law.”
Veteran Queenstown senior constable Chris Blackford told Mountain Scene last week victims involved in crashes with foreign drivers are very unlikely to get their money back.
“Once they leave the country the chances – for the most part getting any money out of them – are almost non-existent,” Blackford said.
“There are honourable people out there who come to the party and compensate victims of their actions but it’s the exception not the rule.”
Mountain Scene this week asked Courts Minister Chester Borrows whether the Kiwi justice system was strong enough when it came to foreign driving offenders being allowed to leave the country still owing money.
Borrows says he believes it is and the same laws apply to tourists as they do to all Kiwis: “There are always going to be people who refuse to pay court ordered reparation whether they are visitors to our country or residents,” he says.
“In this particular case the defendant has until J-uly 10 to pay the outstanding reparation, and I am advised that he has indicated to the judge his intent to pay.”