Trial over blocking of doors in fatal fire

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am

The owners body of Cornwall Court - where a blaze killed two firemen in August - its chairman, and a security services company will go on trial in June for blocking off an escape route in the building.

The Incorporated Owners of Cornwall Court, chairman Chong Wai-ning, 74, and Mei Ming Wai Building Services are each charged with one count of locking a means of escape. They have pleaded not guilty.

They are said to have installed locks on metal doors in an escape route in the Mong Kok building between June 1 and August 9 last year.

The case was up for a pretrial review yesterday before Principal Magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung at Kowloon City Court. The trial has been set for June 22.

Lawyers for the three defendants said they never gave instructions for the emergency door to be locked.

A prosecutor said two firemen went through another emergency door to the roof that was not locked and heard someone calling from inside the emergency exit that they discovered was locked. They had to kick the locked door before it opened.

Senior fireman Siu Wing-fong, 46, and his colleague Chan Siu-lung, 25, died in the blaze on August 10. An elderly woman and a person believed to be a nightclub employee also died and 55 people and three firemen were injured.