The driver of a bus and trailer that crashed with 23 Chinese tourists on board near Queenstown in January has been refused a discharge without conviction.

Appearing before Judge John Strettell in the Queenstown District Court this afternoon, Liang Fang (32), of Christchurch, was sentenced to 200 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay $9000 to the two most seriously injured passengers.

Fang admitted charges of careless driving causing injury to Leyao Dong, Qin He, Jun Yang and Yixin Cai, on January 21 at Wilson Bay on the Glenorchy-Queenstown road.

The bus and trailer, operated by Awing Travel NZ Ltd, tipped onto its side and skidded along the road for about 40 metres after Fang lost control on a downhill bend about 7km southwest of the resort.

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Of the four passengers flown to hospital from the crash site, a 10-year-old girl lost both hands, and a woman lost an arm. Another 18 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.