South Korean charged for using siren in violation of President’s ban
MANILA, Philippines – A South Korean national was haled to court upon orders of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo himself, for using a “wang-wang” or siren on the streets, in violation of a ban ordered by no less than President Aquino.
The suspect, identified as Oh Hoon Kwon, was seen by Robredo himself, driving a black Starex van (with license plate PID-916) with a siren on along Edsa highway in Mandaluyong City late Sunday morning.
Robredo happened to be in Edsa at the time because he had come from the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City where he gave a speech for the 113th Independence Day rites.
The interior secretary said he alerted Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, head of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group through a phone text message.
Robredo said he ordered criminal charges filed against Oh for the illegal use of sirens and blinkers.
A couple of hours later, HPG-National Capital Region intelligence agents led by Senior Supt. Felix Castillo traced Kwon to his condominium unit at the Phoenix Heights Condominium in Bagong Ilog, Pasig City, around 1:40 p.m.
The traffic officers confiscated Oh’s van and siren.
Robredo said Espina reported that the South Korean was charged in court on Monday for violation of Presidential Decree 96.
The 1973 law prohibits the use of sirens, bells, whistles, horns and similar devices that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound in a motor vehicle.
The law said sirens and similar gadgets could only be used in official vehicles used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, police departments, fire departments and hospital ambulances.
Punishment ranges from immediate confiscation of the vehicle, imprisonment of six months and/or a fine of P600, and cancellation of the certificate of vehicle registration.
In his inaugural speech on June 30 last year, President Aquino put an end to the abusive use of “wang-wang” by government officials and motorists during heavy traffic to flaunt their power and privilege.
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