Risk is nearly always entirely with the depositor, says banker Customers who lost their safe deposit boxes were warned yesterday they may only be able to claim $1,000 in compensation. 'This has never happened before ... it is entirely unprecedented,' said a senior manager at Liu Chong Hing Bank. 'But members of the public should be aware that the conditions contained in most agreements claim that use of the deposit box is almost entirely at the risk of the depositor themselves.' DBS Bank officials said the bank would 'honour its ultimate responsibilities to affected customers'. But they now face a lengthy process working with customers to obtain accurate details about the contents of the crushed boxes. 'We are totally in the dark,' said one DBS spokesman. 'The bank does not hold any inventory or list of contents of our customer's safe deposit boxes ... it is confidential information.' The manager at Liu Chong Hing Bank, Brian Cheung Nam-chung, said holders of safe deposit boxes would be well-advised to check the details of their agreement with the banks. 'The bank does not pay for any losses or damage from typhoons or flooding or fire or burglary,' Mr Cheung said. 'And unless you can prove it is a result of negligence by the bank, in most cases, the bank is only responsible for a maximum of $1,000. 'This is because the bank argues that they do not know the exact content of what has been deposited so they are unable to insure the contents to a certain sum for you.' He said it was 'quite evident' that in an exceptional case like the DBS incident the bank had agreed to pay the customers compensation. 'But how much remains to be seen.' Mr Cheung criticised the slow reaction of DBS in notifying police and affected customers. Although the incident happened on Saturday, police were not told until about 1.40pm on Monday, while DBS bank officials were still trying to contact victims last night. 'They should have notified police straight away and moved to salvage whatever they could have recovered from the docking area.'