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M. Mageswari
Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014

Malaysia

Couple sue bank over loss of valuables worth S$575,646

The Star/ANN | M. Mageswari | Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR - A couple are suing a bank for fraud and negligence over the loss of "antique" valuables and family heirlooms kept in its safe deposit box.

Businessman Lee Yaw Lin, 46, and his wife Choo Yoke Peng, 40, claimed that they had deposited diverse valuables estimated at RM1.48million (S$575,646) in the safe box.

The valuables included pure gold and jade collections, watches, belts, notes and coins, diamonds and pens.

United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd has been named as the sole defendant.

Lee said that he was informed on Oct 22, 2012 by a police officer from the Dang Wangi police station and by the bank's manager that his safe deposit box had been broken into.

Upon arrival at the bank's premises, he found that all the valuable items were missing although certain documents kept in the safe box were still there.

In the statement of claim made available to media yesterday, the plantiffs said they had notified the commercial bank on Sept 20 last yearthrough their solicitors of the total losses and enquired if the defendants were desirous of an amicable settlement.

The plaintiffs allege that the bank made it clear in a letter that it was not prepared for a settlement.

Speaking to media later, Lee said that he had gone for mediation in the presence of a representative from the bank to resolve the civil claim on July 4.

"I rented the safe box since 1998 for RM250 per year. They told me later that the maximum insurance coverage for the rental of the box was RM10,000 only, as per our new agreement signed in 2002.

"They offered an amount but I was not agreeable to it and am opting to go for a full trial at a High Court here on Aug 11," he added.

In the lawsuit filed on Dec 3, last year, the couple said the bank was to ensure that the individuals responsible for the loss were brought to book. Among others, they are seeking for RM2million (S$777,900) in aggravated/exemplary damages and RM1.48million for the loss of valuables.

In the amended statement of defence filed on Jan 24 this year, the bank denied of any negligence saying that there was an agreement for the hire of the safe deposit box between them on Jan 15, 2002, maintained at its Medan Pasar branch here.

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