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From Ince Gordon Dadds

Ince & Co wins acquittal for China Resources Logistics in criminal proceedings following container terminal incident


Rosita Lau, Ince & Co partner based in Hong Kong, and her team have recently achieved significant victory in successfully defending criminal charges against China Resources Logistics Co., Ltd., a major integrated logistics service provider in Hong Kong and a member of the conglomerate China Resources Group. The prosecution arose out of a widely-reported incident in 2015 in which a front loader engaged to carry out container stacking operation collapsed at China Resources' containers terminal in Hong Kong, resulting in the total loss of the front loader and substantial loss and damage to cargoes contained in a number of containers at the terminal which all fell into the sea, as well as personal injuries to the operator.

The incident gave rise to both criminal prosecution by the Hong Kong Government and a series of cargo claims by the relevant carriers of the cargoes and different cargo owners. The team acted for China Resources Logistics and their insurers in defending the criminal charges, as well as the related property losses and cargo claims. After a trial held in May and June, the team successfully concluded the criminal proceedings with triumph and China Resources Logistics were acquitted from charges under all criminal summonses. The civil proceedings are still on-going.

"This case is manifold and extensive," said Rosita. "It involved two years of hard work among the Ince team and the clients, as well as leading defence counsel and experts in Hong Kong on mechanical engineering, industrial safety and related criminal matters. We drew our cross-disciplinary expertise in Shipping, Insurance, Trade, and Ports & Terminals, and took into thorough considerations of engineering, science and technical issues concerning safety operation at container terminal as well as trade practice and complex questions of law concerning limitation and exclusion of liabilities between the parties including the cargo owners, freight forwarders, carriers, the operator, and the containers yard involved in the process."

This victory marks yet another triumph for Rosita who has been acting for leading port and terminal owners and operators in Hong Kong for years in dealing with heavy machinery and industrial safety related criminal/civil proceedings.

Led by Rosita Lau, the team also includes Simon Cheng (Senior Associate, Hong Kong), Joanna Au (Associate, Hong Kong), and Vincent Zhang (Paralegal, Hong Kong).