Call for curbs on illegal street racing

The fatal three-vehicle collision last Saturday involving a Ferrari has sparked calls for the authorities to clamp down on illegal car racing on Singapore streets.

In recent years, illegal races have been reportedly carried out in Old Upper Thomson Road and Orchard Road, on a route dubbed "Orchard Gudang", a reference to Johor's Pasir Gudang race track.

Netizens have also complained about such races as recently as last month - on travel website Tripadvisor under its Marina Mandarin Singapore hotel webpage.

It led the hotel's general manager, Mr Kurt Wehinger, to post under the same thread on April 10: "We regret the noise disturbance from the illegal street racing on the public road in front of the hotel, and will work closely with the authorities to address the situation."

Singapore blogger Gigamole posted on his blog on Tuesday that it "doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Ferrari was involved in some sort of street race". The Ferrari had been driven by Chinese national Ma Chi, 31.

Mr Ma's wife, Madam He Tingting, 28, told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao in an earlier report that her husband loved to drive at night as there were fewer cars on the road.

Stomp contributor Failrrari posted on citizen-journalism website Stomp yesterday that while Mr Ma may not have been racing at the time, he was driving recklessly. He wrote: "It is time (that) serious action was taken to rein in these people."

A video of the accident which has gone viral online revealed Mr Ma's Ferrari to be going at an extremely fast speed. An educational-technology officer at the Ministry of Education, Mr Lawrence Wee, 43, told my paper that he estimated the Ferrari's speed to be between 110kmh and 170kmh, from the video.

Mr Wee, who is pursuing a doctorate in physics at Nanyang Technological University, calculated the speed based on the distance the car travelled and the time it took for it to do so.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean wrote that he was saddened and shocked by the incident. Mr Teo said that he has directed the Traffic Police to get "tougher" on speeding and reckless driving. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also addressed the incident on his Facebook profile page yesterday.

In his post, he said that he was "deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of lives". Last Saturday's crash at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street claimed three lives, including Mr Ma's.

The Ferrari collided into a taxi, subsequently killing its occupants, driver Cheng Teck Hock, 52, and his passenger, Ms Shigemi Ito, 41. Two others - motorcyclist Muhammad Najib Ghazali, 25, and

Mr Ma's female passenger, Chinese student Wu Weiwei, in her 20s - were injured. Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News reported that Mr Cheng's 21-year-old daughter screamed repeatedly for her father at his cremation held at Mandai Crematorium yesterday.

ethanlou@sph.com.sg


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