Four companies and four individuals are being prosecuted over a fatal tower crane collapse in Hong Kong almost a year ago which killed three construction workers and left six injured.
The Buildings Department said on Wednesday that it had laid nine charges against the registered general building contractor and its authorised signatory, relevant sub-contractors and individuals directly concerned with the work at Anderson Road, Sau Mau Ping, where a 65-tonne crane collapsed and fell onto six shipping containers last September.
Local media reports said the three workers killed were a 41-year-old electrician, a 22-year-old assistant engineer and a 25-year-old engineer. Six other workers were injured.
The prosecutions were initiated under the Buildings Ordinance, the government said, with summonses issued by the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts. The case is set to be heard on January 30 next year.
The legislation stipulates that any person directly concerned with any building works, who carries out or has carried out such works, or authorises or permits or has authorised or permitted such works to be carried out, in such a manner that it causes injury to any person or damage to any property is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for three years.
The incident, described as “rare” by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun at the time, was one of the most serious industrial accidents in Hong Kong in more than a decade.
The prosecution came after the Buildings Department completed a probe into the tower crane collapse. According to government findings, the crane was supported by a steel supporting frame, which was assembled by welding and bolted connections. The frame was fixed onto the permanent reinforced concrete structure of the building.
“The investigation has revealed that welded joints between steel segments of the steel supporting frame were torn off, resulting in the collapse of the entire tower crane in the incident,” the Buildings Department said in an English-language statement issued on Wednesday.
In March, more than 60 charges were brought under separate legislation by the Labour Department against the contractor, subcontractors and individuals involved in the deadly crane collapse. That case is ongoing.
The government said on Wednesday that the Development Bureau and the Buildings Department would continue to follow up on the case and review matters including the qualification for tendering of public works contracts, the registration of the contractor and disciplinary action.
Two contractors concerned were suspended from the public works contractors list until December 31 and October 16, 2024, respectively. The government said a Panel of Enquiry would be convened to review the degree of responsibility of the individual contractors to consider further actions, such as extending the suspension period or even striking them off the list.
The registration of the general building contractor involved in the case expired in April. The contractor would be interviewed and assessed by the Contractors Registration Committee for its renewal application before the Buildings Department decides whether to grant or refuse the application. Conditions may also be imposed on the contractor, the government said.
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