SC orders Shangri-la hotel to pay P52M for guest's murder

Posted at 09/17/12 4:35 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Makati Shangri-la Hotel and Resort, Inc. to pay at least P52 million in damages to the heirs of a Norwegian who died inside the hotel in November 1999.

In a decision, the high court said: “The hotel owner is liable for civil damages to the surviving heirs of its hotel guest whom strangers murdered inside his hotel room.”

Christian Fredrik Harper, the business development manager of Alstom Power Norway AS, was found dead in his room at the 14th floor of the hotel. His eyes, mouth, hands and feet were wrapped with electrical tapes. His valuables were reported to have been missing.

Prior to the incident, hotel guests had supposedly complained of missing valuables.

The high court agreed with an earlier ruling of the Court of Appeals that Shangri-la failed to provide basic and adequate security measures to its guest.

Such omission was the “proximate cause” of Harper’s death, the high court noted. The incident can be linked “mainly on the latter’s inadequate hotel security, more particularly on the failure to deploy sufficient security personnel or roving guards at the time the ghastly incident happened.”

The high court affirmed the liability assessed by the Court of Appeals. It ordered the posh hotel to pay Harper’s heirs P52,078,702.50 as actual and compensatory damages,
P25,000 as temperate damages, P250,000 as attorney’s fees.

The hotel was also ordered to pay the costs of the suit.