Singapore

Defamation suit by Certis Cisco against Lianhe Wanbao dismissed

A well-known security services firm sued for defamation after an article appeared in Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reporting that a former television actress had lost some jewellery entrusted to its subsidiary.

But the case, brought by Certis Cisco Security, was dismissed, as the judge found that the news report had used a term that meant, in Chinese, insurance company (baoxian gongsi) rather than one that meant security firm (baoan gongsi).

This meant readers would not think the term in the article referred to the security company.

In July 2013, Lianhe Wanbao published an article reporting Ms Ho Seng Mui as saying she had discovered a lot of jewellery missing from a safe deposit box.

In 1990, she hired a safe deposit box in a facility provided by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Certis Cisco Security.

After discovering valuables missing in 2012, she made a police report. She also gave a phone interview to Lianhe Wanbao.

However, District Judge Loo Ngan Chor dismissed the case as the term used did not point to the security vendor's identity when translated literally.

"The use of the Chinese words meaning 'insurance company' would have had the result that a sizeable number of the readers would not have made any connection to the plaintiff," said the judge.

The judge also concluded that the words did not carry defamation or suggest that the plaintiff had been dishonest in the case. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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