Gao Xiaosong, the Chinese answer to Simon Cowell, was sentenced yesterday to 6 months in prison and a 4000 RMB fine for having caused an accident in Beijing while driving under the influence of alcohol.
On May 9th, Gao’s blood alcohol content was three times China’s legal limit when he rear-ended a vehicle at a red light with his white Infiniti FX35 SUV, causing a four car pile-up and injuring three.
People’s Daily reports that Gao was contrite during his trial and sentencing in Beijing:
Gao, dressed in a white T-shirt and wearing his trademark black spectacles and flanked by police, pleaded guilty to his crime just after 2.50 pm in the East court room before Judge Lin Meimei.
Gao told the court his occupation was a “composer lyricist” and his place of birth was Beijing before going on to explain his regret and sorrow over his crime. He told the court he had drunk a bottle of grape wine and whisky the night he was arrested.
“I’ve nothing to defend myself only regret,” he told the packed courtroom. “I always thought alcohol could bring me freedom, but it never occurred to me that drunk driving will violate others’ freedom.”
“I thank media and the public for the education. This is not accidental. It’s a result of my arrogance and ignorance. I’ll be a citizen who obeys the laws from now on. I’ll be responsible for all the loss it has caused. I give my apologies to the society and my family. This incident showed my irresponsibility for life. I’m willing to be a volunteer for my life promoting the non-drunk driving.”
Gao is the first high-profile victim to fall foul of the revised Road Traffic Safety Law that took effect on May 1st, which stipulates that even moderately drunk drivers will face fines and a suspended license period of 5 years. Gao was also fined a further 1000 RMB for driving with an expired license.
The new laws are seen as a direct response to the increasing incidence of drunk-driving, with 526,000 inebriated motor vehicle operators caught by police in 2010, a 68 percent increase from the year before.
But however harsh the sentence may be for Gao, it’s still a far cry from the case of Sun Weiming, who had his death penalty sentence for killing four while driving drunk reversed to life imprisonment.
The new laws are already seeing results, having reduced drunk-driving related accidents nationwide over May Day weekend by 27.6 percent, and fatalities by 54.6 percent.
By Fan Huang