Prosperity Clothing Co Ltd v Corona Fashions Ltd And Others

Judgment Date15 July 1976
CourtDistrict Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement NumberDCDT613/1976
Subject MatterDistraint Case





DISTRAINT NOS. 613 & 657 OF 1976


Prosperity Clothing Co.,Ltd. Plaintiffs
Corona Fashions Ltd. Defendants
Victor Ching Sai Poon (A.613/76) Claimants
Corona Wig Factory Ltd. (A.657/76)


Coram: N.P. Power, District Judge

Date of Judgment: 15 July 1976.




1. In this matter there have been two distraints by the same Plaintiff Company against the same Defendant Company. In the first a warrant was issued on 30th June 1975 distraining for $50,000.00 being the rent from 1st February 1975 to 30th June 1975 and in the second a warrant was issued on 17th June 1976 for $60,000.00 being the rent from August 1975 to January 1976. It would appear that the first warrant sought only five months' rent as the Plaintiff Company was then unaware of the full value of the goods on the premises.

2. The two claimants in each of the distraints are Victor POON and Corona Wig Factory Limited. Each claims the release of their goods which were on the premises at the time of seizure by the bailiffs.

3. Mr. CHANG has taken a preliminary point contending that even if the claimants establish the fact they set out in their affidavits they must nonetheless fail in their claims. It is agreed that in determining this preliminary point I must proceed upon the basis that the facts set out in the affidavits of Mr. POON are correct. The claimants, Mr. POON and the Corona Wig Factory Ltd. allege that one of the joint owners and directors of the Plaintiff/Landlord Company, Mrs. LAU, was a director in the Defendant/Tenant Company with Mr. POON and knew that part of the goods on the premises belonged either, in the case of the type-writer and Danish furniture, to Mr. POON or, in the case of the other office equipment and furniture, to Corona Wig Factory Ltd.

4. Mr. CHANG contends that even if Mrs. LAU is proved to have had this knowledge and even if this knowledge is, by reason of her position in the Plaintiff Company taken to be the knowledge of the Plaintiff Company, it is irrelevant in distraint proceeding such as this. He contends that under the distraint provisions of the Landlord & Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance the knowledge of the landlord does not come into the matter, that once the rent has come into arrears and the landlord has applied to Court for a distraint then all that matters thereafter is the 'apparent possession' of the goods. It is not alleged that the Plaintiff Company or its directors have acted fraudulently by, for example, encouraging the claimants to bring their goods onto the premises for the purpose of distraining upon them but simply that the directors of the Plaintiff Company Mr. and Mrs. LAU had knowledge that the ownership of the disputed chattels lay in the claimants.

5. The question I must decide is whether knowledge on the part of a landlord that goods upon premises which he has let do not belong to his tenant in some way vitiates distraint proceedings brought by him under which those goods have been seized by the bailiff? In my view such knowledge alone does not vitiate the proceedings. Goods upon which distraint may be levied are all goods in the 'apparent possession' of the tenant. The ownership of the goods is immaterial as is the knowledge of the landlord as to that ownership. All of the Hong Kong cases which were cited to me and which I have...

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