A multilevel-marketing firm kept more than 1,500 litres of flammable aroma oils in an alleyway next to its Causeway Bay offices without a licence for the dangerous goods, Eastern Court heard yesterday.
The oils were allegedly found by a Fire Services Department officer who had received an unspecified complaint against Digital Crown Holdings (DCHL).
The officer told the court that he arrived with a colleague to DCHL's offices on the evening of May 31 last year. Accompanied by a DCHL staff member, the officer found 1,474 one-litre bottles and 132 quarter-litre bottles of fragrant oils - a total of 1,507 litres - in an alleyway near the offices, he said.
In subsequent meetings with officers, the firm said the goods had already been sold and were awaiting collection, and so no longer belonged to the company, the court heard. The officer said government laboratory tests confirmed the oils contained an organic peroxide oxidising agent, which means they are categorised as dangerous goods.
Lawyer Albert Luk Wai-hung, for DCHL, questioned why the officer had not recorded his conversations with DCHL staff members, and noted discrepancies in his reports. In the original report the officer filed, he wrote that he had found a total of 1,540 litres of oils in the alley, while in subsequent reports the total was changed to 1,507, Luk said.
The officer said he had mistaken the quarter-litre bottles as half-litre bottles, leading to the mistake in the first report.
A second hearing of the case will be held next month before Deputy Special Magistrate Stephen Yeung Shu-bun, when the defence and prosecution will deliver their closing statements.
DCHL has been the subject of protests since October last year by disgruntled mainlanders who said, among other complaints, that they had been misled into buying up products from the company to be sold on to others, only to find the items had little to no resale value.