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Colonial Cases

Hong v. Frew, 1874

[employment law, Chinese]


Hong v. Frew

Local Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 20 May 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 22 May 1874, p 3




(Before Mr. Price, S.M.)

Hong v. Frew.-Claim for £11 2s.

Dr. Kaufmann for the plaintiff, and Mr. Smith for the defendant.

The plaintiff, a Malay, said that whilst he was in the employment of Captain Douglas on the reefs defendant called there and he gave the cheque for £20 to Mr. Frew to put in the bank at Palmerston for witness. Received £8 18s. at the bank afterwards. Mr. Frew told witness that a chinaman named Ah Key had taken out the money, but that witness would be paid out of the wages of the chinaman.

By Mr. Smith-Did not see Captain Douglas gave the cheque to Mr. Frew. Captain Douglas said he would put the money in the Bank.

Mr. Frew said he received from Captain Douglas for Hong a cheque for £20 to be paid into the Bank as a deposited call. Captain Douglas said he would send the boy's signature down. There were two boys at the place, but witness did not know which was Hong or which was Key. Had paid £8 18s. to Hong in instalments. Key had also given an order to pay Hong His (Key's) wages, so as to make good the £20 which Key had improperly obtained from the Bank, and which belonged to the other boy. Never received the signature from Captain Douglas, and that was how it happened that the wrong person was paid. Took every precaution before paying the money. The one boy represented himself as the other. Plaintiff on being told of the fraud accepted the other boy's promissory note to pay the money. The arrangement was made in the presence of two witnesses.

By Dr. Kaufmann-The boy who obtained the money was fully identified before the money was paid as one of Captain Douglas's boys.

Mr. Smith addressed the Bench, and argued that there had been no negligence whatever on the part of the Bank, but that the negligence had been entirely on the part of the plaintiff, or his agent, Captain Douglas, who failed to send down the signature as agreed upon. If he had done that there would have been no mistake, as the boy's signature was a very distinct one.

Dr. Kaufmann submitted that whilst the defendant was not in possession of the signature of the plaintiff, he ought not to have paid the money away to any one who could not be completely identified as the owner of the money. It was pointed out on behalf of the defendant that he had no right to with-hold the money when it was demanded.

The Magistrate thought that the Bank had used all reasonable precaution.

Nonsuit; each party to pay his own costs.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School