Heinrich Pte Ltd and another v Lau Kim Huat and others
The departure of a long-standing associate or employee is sometimes a matter of disappointment; sometimes a matter of joy. Perhaps more often than not, messes are left behind with skeletons stuffed in the deep recesses of filing cabinets and closets. Sometimes, criminal conduct is uncovered; sometimes, it is misconstrued. In the present case, the 2nd Plaintiff, Mr Kor Yong Koo (“Kor”), unhappy with his former director, the 1st Defendant, Mr Lau Kim Huat (“Lau”), pursued personally, and also through the 1st Plaintiff, Heinrich Pte Ltd (“Heinrich”), a company controlled by him, a wide range of claims against Lau; the 2nd Defendant, Mr Li Cunkou (“Li”), an associate of Lau; and the 3rd Defendant, a company belonging to Li, JHY Marine and Offshore Equipment Pte Ltd (“JHY”). Though the claims were founded on allegations over a wide series of transactions, none of them were made out, and the action was dismissed in its entirety. The Plaintiffs have now appealed against my decision.
Kor had apparently only discovered many of the events and transactions making up his whole slew of allegations after Lau left. Data was apparently deleted from the computer previously used by Lau. Lau had also left to set up a business with Li. These matters could certainly give rise to some suspicion, but suspicion alone was not a foundation for a legal claim. The range of allegations made perhaps disclosed the breadth and extent of responsibility entrusted to Lau in Heinrich by Kor, but whatever the level of betrayal that Kor might have felt at Lau’s departure, none of the allegations against the Defendants were made out based on the evidence adduced.
For the above reasons, the Plaintiffs’ applications failed. Costs of $100,000 and reasonable disbursements were awarded to the Defendants.
Find out more on this case at https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module-document/judgement/heinrich-gd_final-22-june-16-pdf.pdf