Tour company manager ‘cheated the system’

The former general manager of a tour company lost his job and was sentenced to community work for arranging for a non-licenced co-worker to drive a tour bus on the Te Anau highway.

Xu Cao, 33, worked for Alps Travel in Queenstown in 2016 when he arranged for a driver, who had an emergency, to leave his licence and logbook in the bus for another driver to use.

He then arranged for a tour guide, who he knew did not have a bus passenger licence, to drive it.

The bus was stopped on State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford by a joint police and New Zealand Transport Agency check point.

Defence counsel Peter Doody said Cao’s employment was terminated a month after the charge was laid, and he no longer had anything to do with buses.

Judge David Saunders sentenced Cao on a charge of fraud for causing the driver to dishonestly use another driver’s licence for a financial advantage.

He said Cao cheated the system, and sentenced him to 120 hours’ community work.

The driver of the bus, 23-year-old Suyan Qi, was also found guilty at the judge-alone trial in January and is due to appear in court on March 16, for sentencing or a discharge without conviction.


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