Lift plunge: death charges possible

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 October, 1993, 12:00am

THE Government is considering whether to charge two companies with corporate manslaughter in connection with last June's Quarry Bay lift disaster in which 12 people died.

Eastern police assistant district commander (crime), Detective Superintendent Don Logan, confirmed ''prima facie '' evidence had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, John Wood, for consideration of a corporate summons for manslaughter.

The fatal crash occurred on June 2 when a group of workers, mainly electricians and lift workers, returned to the 25-storey Java Road building after a tea break.

The passenger hoist suddenly plunged 17 floors.

Mr Wood visited the scene and later discussed with police the possibility of prosecuting anyone deemed to be responsible.

Last Saturday, Eastern district crime officers arrested four men aged between 30 and 45 in connection with the plunge, the biggest construction site accident.

The four, representing two companies, were released on bail of between $20,000 and $30,000 each.

They had their bail extended yesterday and were told to report back on October 21.

The most recent attempt to bring a company to court for manslaughter was in June 1989 when British Director of Public Prosecutions, Allan Green, issued a summons alleging corporate manslaughter by P & O European Ferries as a result of the Zeebrugge ferrydisaster in which 187 died.

In Hong Kong, Mr Logan said investigations were continuing, but in his opinion there was prima facie evidence to press charges.

''Investigations are going on and we are still gathering evidence,'' he said, adding one of the factors relating to the possible charges was alleged poor maintenance of the hoist.

Mr Logan said it was up to Mr Wood whether to send information on to the Coroner for an inquest.