Family of pregnant Hong Kong woman killed by Mid-Levels falling tree sues owners for negligence

Ten-metre India rubber tree came crashing down on 37-year-old Zhang Qin in 2014; now family are seeking damages from owners of property on Robinson Road

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 April, 2017, 6:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 2:28am

The bereaved family of a pregnant woman fatally injured by a falling tree in the Mid-Levels in 2014 is suing the owners of the premises that housed the 10-metre-tall tree.

According to a court document filed by the dead woman’s son, Ryan Alexander Soh, and husband David Soh at the High Court on Friday, the incorporated owners and property managers of Palm Court breached their duties by creating a “public nuisance” in allowing the India rubber tree to remain on a slope at the housing development on Robinson Road.

On August 14, 2014, the tree crashed down the slope and killed Zhang Qin, a 37-year-old heavily pregnant woman.

Zhang was waiting outside the 11-storey Palm Court for a minibus when the tree fell on her shortly after 2.30pm.

Her baby was later delivered by emergency caesarean section.

Experts call for checks on Mid-Levels trees as baby boy fights for his life

The incident highlighted the absence in Hong Kong of a single law to govern the maintenance of trees.

According to the bereaved family’s claim, the incorporated owners of Palm Court and Hang Yick Properties Management were negligent.

“[The] India rubber tree was allowed to decay to a dangerous state and on August 14, 2014 collapsed on Zhang Qin and caused injuries from which she later died,” the claimants said in their submission to the court.

The son, represented by his father, is seeking an unspecified amount in compensation for personal injuries. The husband is also claiming damages both for himself and for other dependants of Zhang under the Fatal Accidents Ordinance.

In response to a Post inquiry, Hang Yick Properties Management said it would not comment on the case as the related claims were being handled by its insurance agent. The incorporated owners of Palm Court could not be reached for comment.