A Hong Kong man who, along with a female companion, drove into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) barracks in Hong Kong in April has won a reprieve as authorities decided to withdraw the trespassing charges.
However, it was only partial relief as the man was fined HK$6,000 and his motorist license suspended for a year for drunk driving, Apple Daily reported Friday.
The man, a 48-year-old movie lighting technician named Chung Yam-yiu, and his female friend — said to be 35 years in age — claimed that they mistook the Chinese military barracks for a guest house.
They were charged in April for entering a prohibited zone without permit. But Hong Kong’s Justice Secretary has now decided to withdraw the trespassing charge.
Chung was, however, fined for driving under the influence as his alcohol reading was two times higher than the limit when he was accosted by security officials on April 15, the report said.
Although there are two signposts showing that the PLA barracks is a prohibited zone and that civilians cannot enter without a permit, Chung is said to have driven his car into the facility at high speed as the gate was open.
After the PLA called the police, the man said he did not know that it was a military barracks and that he committed an unintentional mistake. He said he was finding a hourly-hotel with his female friend at that time.
The police conducted tests and verified that he had high blood alcohol content, but did not find any political literature or related material in the car.
Chung, who is said to have been separated from his wife — the female companion during the nocturnal adventure in April was apparently a girlfriend — pledged not to trespass again, hoping to receive a lighter punishment so as to take care of his 11-year-old daughter, the report said.
Hong Kong has seen quite a few instances in recent months of people trespassing into the PLA barracks, either on purpose or through an error of judgment.
In June, Billy Chiu Hin-chung, founder of Hongkongers Come First — which advocates independence for Hong Kong — was sentenced to two weeks in jail for entering a closed military area without a permit.
Chiu and other activists broke into the PLA barracks on Dec. 26 last year, waving a colonial-era Hong Kong flag and calling on the PLA to “get out”.
The jail term was however suspended for 12 months.
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