THE High Court has ruled in favour of a former customer of Bank of Credit & Commerce (Hongkong) who was trying to set off a personal deposit against an amount owed by a partnership. It is the first Hongkong ruling on set off against the failed bank. Judgment in the case, with Mr Yeu Yui Fong as plaintiff and BCC as defendant, was handed down on June 7. The plaintiff had a $1.1 million deposit with BCC on July 17, the day the BCC winding up petition was presented. On the same date, Central International Traders (CIT), of which he was managing partner, owed BCC about $841,000. CIT had ceased doing business in about 1989 and was unable to repay its debt, which was secured by property. A proposal to set off the personal deposit against the debt was refused by BCC's special managers. The plaintiff nonetheless made a payment to the special managers representing the balance of the debt and deposit and asked for the return of the deeds to the charged property. The special managers, however, applied the payment to reduce CIT's debt. Judge Jones found that there were mutual dealings between the parties concerned as at the date of winding up. The judgment includes a statement by Judge Millett in Re Charge Card Services Ltd of 1986 in which he said the object of the provision of set off was ''to prevent the injustice of a man who has had mutual dealings with a bankrupt from having to pay in full what he owes to the bankrupt while having to rest content with a dividend on what the bankrupt owes him''.