Court orders five-star-hotel to pay damages in tourist's drowning

Justice Wong ordered the hotel to pay damages, which included RM5,887 for travelling expenses, RM53,496 for funeral expenses, RM280,000 for loss of support and RM80 for the deceased’s medical report.

09 Apr 2024 05:13pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
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PUTRAJAYA - The Court of Appeal has ruled that a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur is liable for the death of a Chinese national at its swimming pool seven years ago.

The three-member panel of judges comprising Justices Datuk Supang Lian, Datuk Azimah Omar and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong allowed an appeal brought by the parents of the 22-year-old language teacher from China to set aside the decisions of the Sessions Court and High Court, which dismissed their negligence lawsuit against Sunway Putra Hotel Sdn Bhd.

In his grounds of judgment dated April 2, Justice Wong ordered the hotel to pay damages, which included RM5,887 for travelling expenses, RM53,496 for funeral expenses, RM280,000 for loss of support and RM80 for the deceased’s medical report.

He also ordered that interest of five per cent per annum be imposed on the award of damages from the date of filing of the suit until the date of full settlement of the award, as well as costs of RM25,000.

The grounds of judgment were posted on the judiciary website.

Qi Xiangqing, from Yunnan province, entered Malaysia as a tourist and stayed at the hotel. He was found drowned on Feb 14, 2017.

His parents, Qi Qiaoxian (mother) and Wang Bin (father), sued the hotel seeking damages over their son’s death. Their suit was dismissed by the Sessions Court in 2021 and by the High Court in 2022.

The Court of Appeal delivered its oral decision in February this year.

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In the judgment, Justice Wong said the hotel breached its duty of care that had caused the deceased’s death.

He said the appellate court was of the view that the hotel had admitted to negligence, as its general manager, Michael Monks, had proposed a settlement.

He also said the deceased’s parents had the legal standing to file the legal action.

Justice Wong said the swimming pool was three metres deep, and any reasonable operator of a five-star hotel should have ensured that a certified lifeguard was on duty at the pool when the pool was open to the hotel’s guests, including the deceased.

He said at the time of the incident, an employee of the defendant (the hotel) should have been monitoring the closed-circuit television (CCTV) which had already been installed at the pool.

Lawyers Loh Chang Woo, Lim Shin Yee and Norizul Naufal Dzulkarnain represented the parents in the appeal, while lawyers Gan Khong Aik and Gwee Xi Wen appeared for the hotel. - BERNAMA