12 Jan 2015

Judge warns foreign drivers

8:40 pm on 12 January 2015

A Rotorua judge has sent what he thinks is a clear message to foreign drivers who cause what he calls mayhem on New Zealand roads.

Peng Liu outside the Rotorua District Court

Peng Liu outside the Rotorua District Court Photo: RNZ / Natalie Mankelow

Judge James Weir ordered a Chinese tourist to pay $20,000 to a German family that he crashed into nearly a fortnight ago.

Peng Liu, who was on a two-week holiday in New Zealand, lost control and crossed the centre line on State Highway 5 near Taupo on 30 December 2014.

The 32-year-old hit a vehicle carrying the family of six, who were also visiting New Zealand, causing serious injuries to three of them.

He was sentenced this afternoon at the Rotorua District Court on three charges of careless driving causing injury.

Judge Weir said a clear message needed to be sent to foreign drivers who came to this country and caused this sort of mayhem, which he said was happening more and more on New Zealand roads.

The judge said the family were lucky to escape with their lives and also suffered significant financial damage in excess of €35,000 ($50,000).

He said Liu should not have crashed on the fairly straight road.

He also disqualifed him from driving for 18 months.

Using an interpreter, Liu expressed some frustration at the sentence. "I feel a little bit frustrated but still luckily enough no-one died or be killed."

He said he was sorry - and hoped those injured would recover and have a better experience on their next holiday.

He said he would be paying the fine today and returning to China.

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