A CONSTRUCTION site lift which plunged 17 floors killing all 12 workers inside was installed so VIPS could attend a topping-out ceremony, the High Court heard yesterday. Company director Tsui Heng-sum told a corporate manslaughter trial jury the hoist was not originally intended for use by workers. Later, he changed his account and said he had been misunderstood. 'It was for the convenience of everyone,' Mr Tsui added. The court heard the witness is a director and a 20 per cent shareholder in a company called Donson, responsible for work on the North Point site. Mr Tsui had said the lift was intended for guests of the topping-out ceremony while answering questions put to him by Gary Plowman QC, prosecuting. Mr Tsui said the idea of having such a hoist was first mentioned during a November 1992 site progress meeting, attended by a representative of the developer and the project architect. At the meeting the topping-out ceremony was also discussed. Mr Plowman asked him: 'Was the hoist for the benefit of the workers or for the guests?' He was told: 'To me, it did not make any difference to the workers because the frame already reached the rooftop.' Workers had already been going up and down the building without the aid of a lift, the jury was told. But cross-examined by defence barrister Esther To, the witness said this was 'not right'. Miss To said: 'The idea of having the passenger hoist installed was really to cater for the guests of the topping-out ceremony. It was never intended for the workers.' Mr Tsui said: 'That is not so.' She read back to the witness what he had said to the jury earlier in the day. Mr Tsui said: 'During the meeting, while we were talking about the ceremony, someone said we should install a passenger hoist as soon as possible.' He was asked by Miss To: 'If there was not going to be a topping-out ceremony, the passenger hoist would not be considered, is that right?' He replied: 'That is not correct. People needed it to go up and down.' Miss To asked the witness if he wished to amend what he had said earlier. He said what he had really meant was that while the topping-out ceremony was being discussed it also came to their notice that a passenger hoist was required at the site. Mr Tsui told the court he had travelled in the lift within a couple of months of the horrific June 1993 accident. He told how the project manager employed by the prime contractors, Aoki, went up in the hoist with him and told him he was 'very satisfied with it'. Neither Donson, Aoki, or any of their employees are on trial. Mr Tsui was giving evidence for the prosecution. Ajax Engineering and Surveyors Ltd are charged together with Tam Ping-cheong, a site safety supervisor, Kwong Tim-yau and Hui King-leung, both technicians, and Wong Hon-sang, an assistant examiner. Only Wong was employed by Ajax. All deny manslaughter. The trial before Mr Justice Duffy continues today.