EOC launches legal action against owners of Tai Po plaza for not providing ramp for disabled resident The Equal Opportunities Commission yesterday launched legal action against the incorporated owners of a Tai Po building for failing to provide a quadriplegic resident with adequate access. The commission claimed in a writ filed to the District Court the owners of Uptown Plaza had breached the Disability Discrimination Ordinance. It is seeking a court order for the defendants to provide wheelchair-bound Siu Chi-moon a fixed facility to enter and exit the block. It is also claiming damages and costs on the behalf of the plaintiff. The commission alleged that the building did not provide means of access between the main entrance and the lift lobby for Mr Siu. 'By reason of the existing layout of the property ... together with the defendant's failure and/or refusal to provide a suitable alternative means of access despite the plaintiff's repeated demands and requests, the defendant has unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff of his disability,' according to the writ. The court battle follows years of unanswered appeals from the 50-year-old to his neighbours in the building and two unsuccessful conciliation attempts by the Equal Opportunities Commission. Mariana Law Po-chu, spokeswoman for the commission, said it was the fourth such case in which it had provided legal assistance. The others were resolved with out-of-court settlements. In 1991, a few years after he bought a flat in the plaza, Mr Siu fell from scaffolding and was left a quadriplegic. A small, steep staircase that linked the building's lift lobby to the main entrance made it impossible for Mr Siu to leave the building without the help of five or six men, with him and his chair having a combined weight of about 150kg. Frustrated with the immobility, he bought a movable ramp for HK$4,500. However, the ramp was 'unsafe and unsuitable' as its gradient had to be steeper than the standard recommended by the Buildings Department to accommodate the physical conditions of the block, the writ said. The occupation permit of the property was issued sometime around 1992, before the department imposed requirement of independent access for persons with disabilities in buildings of four or more storeys. In a meeting in December 2002, the defendants refused to build a permanent ramp at the building for Mr Siu. They decided instead to have a movable ramp constructed. But no ramp had been prepared for Mr Siu and he had to continue to rely on his own ingenuity, according to the writ. Between January and last month, the commission has investigated 17 cases on accessibility problems for the disabled. The number of their investigations totalled 47 last year and 42 in 2004.