1982, No. 12150
1982, No. A12151
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG
|CHAN KING CHOI
|LAU WING KEUNG
Coram: Master Hansen in Chambers
Date of Hearing: 4th October 1983
Appearances: Mr Sujanani instructed by Messrs Ip, Ku & Stoppa for Plaintiff
Mr H.Y. Wong instructed by Lo, Wong & Tsui for Defendant
ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES
1. The plaintiff in A 12151/82 was Chan King Choi and his wife Ng Ah Kiu was the plaintiff in A 12150/82. Mr Chan was the owner of shop A5 on the ground floor of King Po Mansion, Hing Fong Road, Kwai Chung. The adjoining shop, A4, was owned by Madam Ng.
2. On the 27th of January 1979 the plaintiff's entered into separate agreements with the defendant for their respective shops (which in reality formed one unit as a dividing wall had been removed). These tenacy agreements were for years from the 5th day of December 1977. The rental for A5 was $2,500 p.m. and for A4 $3,500 per month. It was common ground that a notices to quit in respect of both tenancy agreements were sent to the defendant by the plaintiff's solicitors on the 3rd of March 1982. In December 1982 both plaintiffs issued the writs in these two actions claiming (in the amended statement of claim) possession, special damages or alternatively mesne profits to be assessed and costs. It was agreed that the defendant finally vacated both shops on the 10th of June 1983. The parties could not agree on mesne profits from the 5th of December 1982 until the 10th June 1983 hence this hearing.
3. For the two plaintiffs' evidence was given by Mr Chan who conducted all negotiations in relation to the letting of the shops and by his wife Madam Ng. Mr Simon Lai of the firm of Knight, Frank, Kan and Baillieu valuers and surveyors. For the defence, the defendant (in both actions) Lau Wing Keung gave evidence. Mr Wong also attempted to adduce evidence on behalf of the defendant from a valuer Mr Maguire. However, it transpired that Mr Maguire had not been to the premises and had no personal knowledge of this matter. Apparently, his evidence was to be based on some rough notes made by some former member of the staff of A. G. Wilkinson & Ass. On Mr Sujanani's submission, I ruled this evidence to be inadmissible.
4. Mr Chan gave evidence of the tenancy agreements relating shops A4 and A5 that expired on the 5th December 1982. He gave evidence of instructing his solicitors to send the Notice to Quit in March of 1982. He said that after that he spoke to the defendant (on behalf of his wife as well) about the two shops. He said in November 1982 he spoke to the defendant and said to him that the tenancy expired soon and was he interested in staying and that the defendant asked the rent and was told $25,000 per month consisting of $15,000 p.m. for one unit and $10,000 p.m. for the other. During cross-examination, without prompting, when he was dealing with another matter entirely, Mr Chan corrected his earlier evidence and said the date was in fact November 1981. This was not challenged. He said he had a further discussion with the defendant about the 2nd or 3rd of June 1982. He told the defendant that someone else was interested in renting the two shop units but that he was prepared to give the defendant priority. He stated that the defendant told him the new rent was too high. Mr Chan then gave evidence of negotiating with another shop keeper in the area, a Mr Tai, regarding the lease of the shop. Eventually, the two plaintiffs entered into tenancy agreement with this Mr Tai. Mr Chan produced these and it revealed that both shops were let for a period of 3 years from the 5th December 1982. Shop A5 was let for $10,000 p.m. and A4 for $15,000 p.m. There was a common clause in both agreements. This was clause 8 which recited the facts of the agreements between the plaintiffs and the defendant; that these agreement expired on the 4th December; that notice to quit had been issued; and that if the defendant failed to deliver up possession on the 4th of December the new tenancy would not commence until vacant possession had been delivered up. Mr Chan finally stated that the defendant eventually vacated the premises on the 10th of June 1983. His wife, Madam Ng, gave evidence that corroborated that of her husband.
5. The plaintiffs also called Mr Simon Tai, a qualified valuer employed by Knight, Frank, Kan & Baillieu, to give evidence. His evidence was that the rental value of the two shop, in an open market situation would have...