Firm to face court over lift plunge in Tai Po

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am

The maintenance contractor responsible for a lift in a public housing estate that fell 14 floors in October last year is to face court over breaches of safety laws.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator must appear in Sha Tin Court on July 1 to face charges of failing to supervise maintenance and repair of the lift, and failing to do so according to the provisions of the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance.

The Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department said yesterday that the Department of Justice served summonses on ThyssenKrupp on Monday.

A ThyssenKrupp statement said the company was surprised by the government's move and insisted it was not to blame.

No one was hurt when the empty lift plunged 14 floors in Shin Nga House, Fu Shin Estate, in Tai Po on October 25. A report into the cause of the plunge, released in December, said seven of the lift's eight cables had broken and the counterweight mechanism designed to prevent such a fall was seriously corroded.

ThyssenKrupp said yesterday that an investigation it initiated had concluded that 'the root cause of this incident is not attributable to the maintenance activities of ThyssenKrupp'.

'ThyssenKrupp Elevator (HK) is therefore surprised with the decision of the [Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department] to charge the company in court and will take the necessary actions to defend itself,' it said in a statement.

It said it had taken over maintenance of the lift on August 2008.

The department said any person convicted under the law was subject to a maximum fine of HK$5,000 and imprisonment for six months.