Au Tak Yuen v Or Chek Lam

CourtDistrict Court (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date15 April 1970
Judgement NumberDCDT27/1970
Subject MatterDistraint Case






AU TAK YUEN Plaintiff
OR CHEK LAM Defendant


Coram: Derek Cons, D.J. in Court

Date of Judgment: 15 April 1970




1. For convenience I will call the parties to these proceedings the plaintiff and the defendant respectively.

2. The plaintiff is the principal tenant of ground floor premises known as 10 Sin Hing Street in which he lives and carries on business connected with the printing trade. The premises include a shop front, of the right-hand side of which the defendant is the sub-tenant. He moved into that portion of the premises sometimes towards the end of 1960. There is a conflict of evidence as to the precise circumstances in which he was permitted to make that move, to which I shall have to refer later. Suffice it for the moment to say that even at that time differences soon arose between the parties resulting in an application by the defendant to the Tenancy Tribunal for a variation of tenancy. However, a compromise was reached by which the defendant agreed to withdraw his application upon the plaintiff's granting to him a business lease for 5 years and I month. Despite this inauspicious beginning, the parties seem to have existed together without trouble from that time right up until July of last year. The original lease, which expired on the 14th March, 1966, was renewed upon similar terms save that in view of the increase in the cost of living the rent was raised from $100 to $150 per month.

3. In the middle of July last year trouble started again. Apparently it was the custom of the plaintiff or his wife and the defendant, as might be expected in the circumstances, to help each other in the shop by taking telephone messages or receiving money from the other's customers, if that other should happen to be out of the shop at the appropriate moment. The messages or money would naturally be passed on when that other returned. Unfortunately, on the 13th, the plaintiff so accepted $15 on behalf of the defendant, but did not immediately account to the defendant on his return. When the fact did become known it led to a violent quarrel which grew to include various matters connected with the tenancy and the rent. After this the defendant declined to pay any further rent. On the 7th August the plaintiff caused a solicitor's letter to be sent demanding rent which he claimed to be in arrears since the 15th January. The defendant did not reply but there seems to have been some discussion with the local City District Officer. Then the plaintiff attacked again by cutting off the electricity supply to the defendant's portion. At this stage both parties sought the aid of this Court (Actions 3245 and 3253 of 1969) and appeared before myself on Call-Over on the 19th September. I find it difficult now to understand the reasons I then recorded as the basis of the discussion between the three of us, but whatever may have been said at the time the result was that each party discontinued his action and the electricity supply was restored.

4. On the 2nd October, the defendant, together with another sub-tenant of the same premises, a Mr. Hung Ki Cheung, took out a second application before the Tenancy Tribunal to vary the rent, which application came on for hearing on the 29th. The defence pleasded by the plaintiff, who was then represented by a solicitor, was that the premises were...

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