Gao Xiaosong gets 6 months for reckless driving

By Lee Hannon and Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)
2011-05-23 18:26
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Gao Xiaosong gets 6 months for reckless driving<BR>
 
Gao Xiaoshong listens in court before being jailed for six months for dangerous driving in Beijing, May 17. Image from CCTV 13. [Photo/cntv.cn]
 
Gao Xiaosong gets 6 months for reckless driving<BR>
Gao Xiaosong appears before Beijing Dongcheng District People’s Court in Beijing, May 17, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
 

The 42-year-old singer, music producer and director was three times over the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his Infiniti SUV into a car stopped at a red light in Beijing on May 9.

A blood test revealed Gao had 243.04 milligrams of alcohol for 100 milliliters of blood, well in excess of the 80 milligram limit within a 100 milliliters of blood.

Gao told police he had drunk a bottle of wine and a bottle of liquor with a late-night meal at a downtown Beijing hotel before getting behind the wheel.

But on Tuesday afternoon the man known to million for his critical remarks to contestants on China's Got Talent had to face the judge himself at Beijing Dongcheng District People's Court under China's newly amended Road Traffic Safety Law.

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."

A day earlier at an administrative punishment hearing, wearing an orange detention suit, he was banned from driving for five years and fined 1,000 yuan for having an expired license.

On May 10 he was pictured at Beijing's traffic police headquarters where he turned down requests for interviews, but wrote on a piece of paper: "Sorry, never drive when drunk."

Gao's arrest and trial has sparked a wave of interest online and cries of hypocrisy following his call for a boycott of all Xi'an Conservatory of Music graduates. The students had signed a character testimony for Yao Jiaxin, a promising piano student who stabbed a woman to death last October after he accidentally knocked her down with his car and saw her attempting to memorize his license plate number.

"How can those who do not care for life love music?" Gao wrote on his micro blog.

Now he has become the first celebrity to be punished under the tough new rules that came into effect on May 1. Guo Shudong, the first driver sentenced since the new law was introduced, was jailed for four months for being twice over the legal limit on May 9.

Gao, famous for campus ballad "My Deskmate" in the 1990s, was replaced by music producer and composer Antonio Chen during the recording of China's Got Talent on May 10.

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