Singapore: E-scooter rider who sped and caused fatal crash along Bedok shared path jailed 12 weeks

Hung Kee Boon (left) crashed his electric scooter into cyclist Ong Bee Eng in September 2019. Mourners at Ong's wake (right) held at Block 50 Chai Chee Street after she died on Sept 25, 2019. — TODAY pic
Hung Kee Boon (left) crashed his electric scooter into cyclist Ong Bee Eng in September 2019. Mourners at Ong's wake (right) held at Block 50 Chai Chee Street after she died on Sept 25, 2019. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, May 20 — A 22-year-old who crashed his overweight electric scooter into a cyclist while speeding along a shared path in 2019 was today put behind bars for 12 weeks.

Hung Kee Boon’s acts killed Ong Bee Eng, a logistics assistant who was then 64.

She suffered many traumatic injuries, such as rib and collarbone fractures, and would have likely remained in a persistent vegetative state if she had survived surgery.

She never regained consciousness and died at Changi General Hospital (CGH) four days after the accident in Bedok North.

It was the first death from a collision with a personal mobility device (PMD) user.

Hung, a Singapore permanent resident originally from Malaysia, pleaded guilty earlier this month to causing Ong’s death by a rash act and riding a non-compliant PMD on a shared path.

During sentencing, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo considered a third charge of Hung riding an unregistered mobility vehicle.

The accident was mentioned in Parliament when the Government announced a ban on the use of e-scooters on footpaths from Nov 5, 2019. Riders may use such vehicles only on cycling paths and park connectors.

Today, Principal District Judge Yeo rejected Hung’s lawyers’ proposal for probation, saying that the sentencing principles of deterrence and retribution “clearly eclipsed” that of rehabilitation.

Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders between 16 and 21 years old.

The judge added that while he was sympathetic to Hung’s mental state at the time as Hung had just lost his father to suicide, he agreed with the prosecution that it had nothing to do with his rash manner of riding.

The judge also gave little weight to the fact that Ong suddenly came into view from Hung’s blind spot and entered the cycling path.

It would have been Hung’s duty to exercise more care but he ignored the risks, the judge said.

He also took into account Hung’s guilty plea and relatively young age during sentencing.

Hung began serving his jail sentence immediately.

The case

The court earlier heard that his e-scooter weighed 44.2kg — more than double the maximum weight of 20kg set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) — and its handlebars measured 72.5cm across.

Its maximum speed, as specified by the manufacturer, was 75 to 80kmh.

Under LTA regulations, PMDs cannot exceed 70cm in width and the maximum speed on public paths is 25kmh.

On the evening of Sept 21, 2019, Ong was cycling near a coffee shop at Block 539 Bedok North Street 3.

Hung was riding along a cycling path beside the block.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok told the court that Hung knew he was riding above 25kmh, as shown by the speedometer attached to his e-scooter.

Hung continued speeding as he approached a junction and did not slow down despite the presence of rumble strips — grooved markings that cause vibrations to alert riders or drivers to potential danger.

At this point, Ong — whose bicycle did not have headlights — rode along the pavement, intending to ride across the cycling path to a zebra crossing.

A lit signboard partially obscured Hung’s view of the pavement, but he noticed Ong entering the cycling path.

Even so, he could not stop in time and hit Ong, flinging her off the bicycle.

A Health Sciences Authority analysis after the accident showed that he was travelling between 27kmh and 43kmh before the crash. Ong was cycling at 6 to 10kmh.

Members of the public who rushed to Ong’s aid found her unconscious and bleeding from the head. Hung was also hurt but was conscious.

They were taken to CGH in separate ambulances.

Hung suffered a forearm fracture and was discharged from the hospital that night.

Ong died from her injuries on Sept 25, 2019.

For causing death by a rash act, Hung could have been jailed for up to five years or fined, or punished with both.

For riding a non-compliant PMD, he could have been imprisoned for up to three months or fined up to S$5,000, or received both penalties. — TODAY

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