Appeals Court rules KL hotel liable for drowning of Chinese tourist

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.

A 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 a 22-year-old 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 5% per annum be imposed on the award of damages from the date the suit was filed 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 mother Qi Qiaoxian and father Wang Bin, 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.

In the judgment, Justice Wong said the hotel had breached its duty of care leading to the deceased's death.

He said the 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 standing to file the legal action.

Justice Wong said the swimming pool was 3m 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) 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

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