Security firm liable over theft

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 12:00am

A Hong Kong security company that partially disabled a home's security system has been found liable for the loss of $10 million of jewellery in a burglary at the home.

Johnson Burglar Alarms Company Limited's failure to inform Karen and Nils E. Thomsen of the incomplete work to their Bowen Road apartment left it vulnerable to the November 1997 robbery, Court of First Instance found. Damages will be assessed later.

Deputy Judge Anthony To Kwai-fung said the company had breached its duty to exercise 'reasonable skill, care and diligence'.

The court heard Johnson Burglar Alarms was contracted by the Thomsens in April 1988 to install a security and alarm system covering six zones across their property. The Thomsens later cancelled their maintenance programme due to infrequent servicing but continued to contact the company when the need arose.

On July 3, 1997, technician Fong Ho-fai was called to examine the part of the system covering the property's balcony after a false alarm was triggered. He found the infra-red beam emitters needed to be aligned but was unable to do so due to heavy rain, the court heard. Mr Fong then left the system covering the balcony inactive, but reset the controls to indicate all parts of the system were working.