Families of six Hong Kong workers killed in 2009 accident sue for damages

Relatives claim the tragedy during construction of tower in 2009 was a result of contractors' negligence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:14am

The families of six construction workers who plunged 17 storeys to their death on an overloaded bamboo platform in a lift shaft at Hong Kong's tallest building are claiming damages from the contractor.

In a writ filed at the High Court, the family members are suing Sanfield Building Contractors, the principal contractor for the Kowloon Station development which includes the 118-storey International Commerce Centre, where the men were working when they fell to their death on September 13, 2009. They are also suing the men's employer, Wang Wai Construction Works. The contractor is a subsidiary of the tower's developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Workers Hui Chi-kwong, 46, Lin Xiangli, 34, Ting Kwok-keung, 43, Wong Sai-man, 40, and Hui Tin-chung, 46, died of multiple injuries at the construction site in West Kowloon, while Choy Ming-cheung, 44, died from traumatic asphyxia.

The families claim that the deaths were a result of Sanfield and Wang Wai's negligence, a breach of their duty of care and the terms of the men's employment contracts.

Each family is separately claiming an unspecified amount of damages under the Fatal Accidents Ordinance and the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) Ordinance.

A coroner ruled in December 2010 that the deaths were accidental. The workers were clearing debris on a 2.6-metre-square platform on the day of accident. They were on the 27th floor and plunged to the 10th when most of the bamboo platform, which they mistakenly thought was made of metal, collapsed.

In November 2010, Sanfield, which had 101 previous convictions, was fined HK$936,000 in Kwun Tong Court after pleading guilty to 24 offences relating to the workers' deaths. Wang Wai - the contractor responsible on the day of the fatal accident - was fined HK$376,000 after admitting 13 offences.

A Sanfield spokesman said it had given the families HK$7.2 million in a fund and for burial services. The families also received HK$7 million under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance.