|Fortune Teller Loses Nina Appeal|
A feng shui master pursued "a thoroughly dishonest case" in trying to claim late Hong Kong developer Nina Wang's multibillion-dollar estate with a forged will, a court said on Feb.14 as it dismissed his appeal.
By persisting in the case, fortune teller Tony Chan Chun-chuen "abused the process of the court," High Court Judge Anthony Rogers said.
Wang, once Asia's richest woman, died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 69. The fortune held through her private Chinachem Group has been estimated at around HK$100 billion (US$12.8 billion).
In February last year, the court ruled in favor of an earlier will that left Wang's estate to a charity she and her late husband founded.
The bitter dispute, which pitted Chan against the charity run by Wang's family, fascinated Hong Kongers with its juicy revelations of Chan's affair with Wang, who was nicknamed "Little Sweetie" for her girlish outfits and pigtail hairdo.
Chan's appeal argued that the judge had been "morally offended" by the romance and had let his personal views color his ruling that the second will was a forgery.
Chan said during last year's trial that he and Wang were in love, sharing a passion for cooking, travel, model helicopters and feng shui - the Chinese art of arranging objects and choosing dates to improve luck.
The trial judge, however, described the 51-year-old former bartender as an opportunist who knew how to ingratiate himself with others.
Wang's brother, Kung Yan-sum, said he was "very, very happy" with the ruling.
"The court has spoken very clearly," he said, as he held up a copy of the ruling at a news conference yesterday.
Kung said he hoped the ruling would end the case, although it can still be taken to the Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong's highest court.
Wang inherited developer Chinachem after her husband was kidnapped in 1990. Despite the family paying a US$33 million ransom, he wasn't released and his body was never found.
Wang met Chan, a married man 20 years younger, in 1992 when she sought out a feng shui adviser to help locate her husband.
The former waiter, bartender, machinery salesman and market researcher made an unlikely match for Wang.
At last year's trial, Chan said he became involved with Wang when his wife was pregnant.
He said she referred to him affectionately as "hubby pig."
The opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Published on our website on Feb.16, 2011