NINA WANG

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An Asian Tragedy - documented over 10 years

What's the lesson in this tale about Nina Wang, Asia's richest woman - now deceased?

  • To spend majority of life in Litigation is lawyer & fortune teller's dream?
  • True love prevails after all...
  • In the end, its just money!

Of course, we need to be facetious because this all too common story of fight for money with Asia's mega wealthy is too intriguing.   A real life soap opera involving billions.   


Nina Wang [supposedly] Leaves $4.2 Billion to Feng-Shui Master

Nina Wang, Asia's richest woman who died this month and left behind an estimated $4 billion fortune, left her estate to Tony Chan Chun Chuen, a feng-shui master, according to a law firm representing Chan.

Wang chose Chan as the beneficiary because he understood her personal and business philosophy, Jonathan Midgley, a solicitor at Haldanes, the firm representing Chan, told reporters at a briefing in Hong Kong today.

``It was best if her business interests were left to one person who has the necessary experience to continue to manage the Chinachem Group and would do so in a way consistent with her own philosophy,'' Midgley said.

Wang, who died on April 3 at age 69, had a fortune of $4.2 billion, according to a survey by Forbes magazine earlier this year. She had no children. Wang won control of deceased husband Teddy Wang's fortune in 2005 after Hong Kong's highest court ruled she didn't conspire with her butler to forge his will.

Teddy Wang was kidnapped in 1983 and again in 1990. He didn't return after the second abduction and his body was never recovered. Nina Wang ran Chinachem Group, one of Hong Kong's largest privately held real estate developers, for nine years under a power of attorney, insisting her husband was alive.

Chan, 48, is ``very honored by the trust and affection, which Nina Wang has shown in passing her entire estate to him,'' according to a notice published by Haldanes today in several Hong Kong newspapers.

Alleviating `Speculation'

Haldanes, in a statement published April 7, said Wang didn't bequeath her fortune to charity. That announcement was intended to ``alleviate some of the speculation'' regarding Wang's will, the statement said.

Hong Kong's Oriental Daily newspaper reported on April 7 that Wang had made a will in an overseas jurisdiction giving instructions for her entire fortune to be distributed to several charitable foundations, citing unidentified people.

Midgley declined to comment on the issue at today's briefing.

Chan, who is married with three children, has business interests in property development and practices feng-shui as a hobby, according to Midgley. - by  Ting Ting Ng in Hong Kong bloomberg.net April 20, 2007  

Nina Wang's fengshui master in new bid for estate

A Hong Kong fengshui master yesterday launched a fresh legal challenge for the multi-billion dollar estate of eccentric tycoon Nina Wang, formerly Asia's richest woman.

Chan Chun Chuen has applied to the High Court to freeze the assets of the late Ms Wang's former company Chinachem Charitable Foundation and appoint an administrator, his lawyer said.

Mr Chan said that he has a 2006 will naming him as the sole beneficiary of Ms Wang's estate, estimated to be about US$4.2 billion.

'At the request of Mr Chan, the writ has now been served and the matter will have to be resolved in the normal way by the court,' Mr Chan's lawyer, Jonathan Midgley, said in a statement.

The statement said that efforts to resolve the situation outside court had failed.

Ms Wang's family issued a writ in April claiming that her 2002 will, which reportedly says that a majority of the tycoon's assets should be used for charitable purposes, is final and valid.

Ms Wang died on April 4 aged 69 with no heirs. She built her late husband Teddy Wang's Chinachem into a real estate empire after taking it over following his disappearance in 1990.

Mr Wang is believed to have been kidnapped and was declared dead in 1999, although his body was never found. --  2007 November 1 AFP 

Kin, feng shui master claim Wang's riches

A charity and a mystery man are vying for the fortune of late Hong Kong tycoon Nina Wang, who was Asia's richest woman, in a development that echoes Ms Wang's court battle with her father-in-law over her kidnapped husband's estate.

Ms Wang, who inherited husband Teddy Wang's fortune, died on April 3 aged 69. She was reportedly suffering from ovarian cancer, which had spread to her liver and other organs.

A mystery Hong Kong feng shui master yesterday claimed the estate of Ms Wang, setting the stage for a spectacular courtroom battle over her US$4 billion fortune.

The announcement came as relatives filed their own legal papers over the wealth of the late eccentric, whose property empire and miser's lifestyle made her a regular feature on both the business and the gossip pages.

Lawyers said a 2006 will written by Ms Wang had left the entire legacy to feng shui master Chan Chun Chuen - a figure other feng shui masters in this Chinese city said they had never heard of.

'Mr Chan is very honoured by the trust and affection which Nina Wang has shown in passing her entire estate to him,' said a legal notice published in several Hong Kong newspapers. 'In dealing with it, Mr Chan will at all times have regard to the values by which Nina Wang managed her business interests and personal affairs during her life.'

Speaking at a press conference, lawyer Jonathan Midgely said: 'My firm is preparing the necessary papers to prove the will and obtain the appropriate grant from the court to allow in due course Mr Chan to take possession of Mrs Wang's estate.'

Mr Midgely, who also served as Ms Wang's counsel during her bitter eight-year battle against her father in-law for control of her late husband's estate, did not say why Ms Wang left her entire estate to someone outside her family.

'(Chan) understands that Mrs Wang decided that it was best if her business interests were left to one person who had the necessary experience to continue to manage the Chinachem Group and would do so in a way consistent with her own philosophy,' Mr Midgely said.

'Mr Chan is touched and honoured that Mrs Wang decided that he was suitable to be given the responsibility for continuing her work,' he added. 'It is to be hoped that Mrs Wang's wishes will be respected by all concerned.'

The lawyer said Mr Chan used to give advice on feng shui but this had now become his hobby. He also said Mr Chan would continue to help Ms Wang's charitable foundation.

Two younger sisters and a brother of Ms Wang have also filed their own papers over the estate in the name of a charity trust connected to Chinachem. They say the trust was named as the executor of a will that Ms Wang purportedly wrote in 2002, possibly paving the way for a second court fight over the fortune.

In a further twist, the Oriental Daily News said the family held a third and final will written just before the tycoon's death. It did not say when the purported document was dated.

The new document, which was similar to the 2002 one, indicated her assets should be used for charitable purposes, and provide care and support for her father-in-law, his wife, Mr Teddy Wang's siblings and their children.

Little is known about Mr Chan. Local newspapers have interviewed well-known feng shui masters - traditionally consulted in China to ensure health, wealth and happiness - who have said they have never heard of him. Even Ms Wang's top aides and family know little about Mr Chan, who is believed to be a billionaire himself, lives in a luxury home and studied medicine in Canada, reports said.

Calling him a private man, Mr Midgely revealed that Mr Chan, 48, is married with three children and that he has business interests in property and development. Mr Chan had known Ms Wang for 'many years', he added. - AP, AFP    21 Apr 2007

Lavish funeral for Asia's richest woman

Many of HK's elite bid farewell to tycoon Nina Wang

(HONG KONG) Asia's richest woman Nina Wang was given an extravagant funeral send-off yesterday attended by many of Hong Kong's rich and powerful, amid feverish speculation over who will inherit her fortune.

Shanghai-born Ms Wang, who was famously frugal, died of cancer aged 69 earlier this month with an estate estimated to be worth at least US$4.2 billion. She left no heirs, and some newspapers here have speculated she might have left all or a large part of her wealth to her personal fortune-teller.

Ms Wang's funeral, organised by a committee of 45 businessmen and politicians including Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, was shrouded in secrecy. Reporters were barred from the venue in Hong Kong before the ceremony.

Scores of people watched from across the street as the hearse carrying her body left for the crematorium, festooned with white orchids and with red roses arranged in heart shapes placed in the front and back.

At the ceremony at the crematorium, Ms Wang's godson Anthony Cheung emerged in tears holding her portrait in his hands. He was accompanied by her other family members and surrounded by some 50 press photographers.

Ms Wang's family had booked the entire first floor of the sprawling funeral home. Local press said her family had spent millions of Hong Kong dollars on flowers for the funeral ceremony, and a sea of floral wreaths accumulated outside and inside the funeral home. The hall was decorated in red and white, her favourite colours, although red is traditionally symbolic of celebrations like weddings.

The whole front wall of the hall was covered in white orchids, white lilies, peonies and white chrysanthemums. A portrait of Ms Wang was placed in the middle of more than 1,000 red roses in the shape of a heart, above a similarly garlanded altar.

A 10-foot memorial plaque lined with white chrysanthemums was placed on top of the portrait. Next to it, a television flickered with TV footage of the tycoon.

Several small figurines of Ms Wang's favourite Japanese cartoon character 'Little Sweetie' - whose resemblance to her earned her the nickname - were placed before the portrait.

Ms Wang's family, including her two sisters and one brother, bowed tearfully to every mourner entering the funeral home.

Among those who gathered for the ceremony were casino magnate Stanley Ho and property tycoon Thomas Kwok, while Hong Kong's chief executive, Donald Tsang, and Mr Li paid their respects on Tuesday.

Several dozen members of the public also gathered across the street to pay their respects.

'After she spent all those years fighting for her husband's money, she's gone. Money means nothing if you don't live. It's so sad,' said restaurant waiter Wong Chun-fat, among the mourners who had gathered outside.

A 55-year-old man surnamed Lee who travelled for an hour to pay his respects said: 'She's one person whom I admired most. She contributed so much to society and donated so much to charity. It's sad she's gone.' - AFP   19  April 2007

Property tycoon Nina Wang dies, aged 69

Nina Wang, Asia's richest woman and one of Hong Kong's most high-profile property developers, has died at the age of 69 of an undisclosed illness.

Her death comes just 18 months after she won a marathon battle to retain her late husband's estate in a saga that spanned nine years and saw Ms Wang square off against her father-in-law in a courtroom drama that hinged on fraud allegations.

It is not clear who will inherit Ms Wang's property empire, the Chinachem chairwoman having died childless.

Ms Wang, also known as 'little sweetie' and renowned for her signature ponytails which she kept until late last year, was one of Hong Kong's most colourful corporate characters.

The Chinese press reported last year that she was suffering from cancer, but the rumours were never confirmed.

She leaves behind one of Hong Kong's biggest property companies, of which there are scant financial details.

Chinachem Group, set up by businessman Teddy Wang The-huei, was never taken public and to this day remains in private hands.

Mr Wang disappeared in 1990, when he was Hong Kong's 15th richest man. He was snatched from his Mercedes outside the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the second time he had been kidnapped.

In 1983, a US$11 million ransom was paid for his release after captors took him from his home and stuffed him in a fridge in a Hunghom flat.

Although Ms Wang had long insisted the tycoon was still alive after the second kidnapping, his father, Wang Din-shin, took legal steps to have him declared dead in 1999.

This triggered a bitter battle between Ms Wang and her husband's father which saw the businesswoman come to the brink of criminal proceedings after a court ruled that she had probably faked a will giving her the right to her husband's empire.

This ruling was quashed in late 2005, with Ms Wang absolved of any wrongdoing. It was suspected that a group of rival property developers had been providing financial backing for the father-in-law to fight the court case against Ms Wang, but she did not press him for disclosure.

Those who knew Ms Wang yesterday described her as a savvy businesswoman who amassed huge personal wealth during her time as Chinachem boss. Fortune magazine has estimated her assets to be in the region of US$4.2 billion.

Peter Churchouse, a director of property fund Long Investment Management, said: 'We've never seen the balance sheet (of Chinachem), but you would have to think it's fairly robust.'

Chinachem has more than 250 properties in Hong Kong, including skyscrapers such as Chinachem Exchange Square and Golden Plaza, along with a vast portfolio of offices, shopping centres, apartment blocks, cinemas and industrial sites.

In 1997, the company paid HK$5.5 billion (S$1.1 billion) for a beachfront site at luxury residential area Repulse Bay. It was developed into a block of flats, but has remained empty ever since.

'You must have very deep pockets to be able to do that,' Mr Churchouse said.

Ms Wang's company declined to give details of her illness yesterday, saying only that funeral arrangements would be disclosed at a later date.  - 2007  April 5  BUSINESS TIMES

Settling a $3 billion score

Nina Wang, Asiaís richest woman, has won control of her dead husbandís business empire after an eight-year legal dispute. Hong Kong's court of final appeal overturned a previous ruling by a lower court, giving the colourful Mrs Wang, known for her pigtails and wacky fashion-sense, full control of Chinachem, a large property developer believed to be worth $3 billion.

After her husband was kidnapped in 1990 and officially declared dead nine years later, Mrs Wang became involved in a dispute with her father-in-law, who claimed she had forged a will. The alleged death threats and accusations of adultery that followed, together with the huge sums of money involved, transfixed Hong Kong's media. In 2002, a court ruled against Mrs Wang, and a police investigation and an unsuccessful appeal followed.

In January, Mrs Wang was charged with forgery, using a false instrument and attempting to pervert the course of justice, and ordered to pay a record HK$55m (about $7m) bail. Those charges are now in doubt following the court of final appeal's finding that the will was genuine. - ECONOMIST.com    October 2005

Nina's big win
Flamboyant businesswoman Nina Wang's long battle for control of her late husband's Chinachem business empire ended in victory as the Court of Final Appeal unanimously ruled in her favor Friday

Flamboyant businesswoman Nina Wang's long battle for control of her late husband's Chinachem business empire ended in victory as the Court of Final Appeal unanimously ruled in her favor Friday.

For eight years, Nina Wang and her 94-year-old father-in-law, Wang Din- shin, battled over his contention that the late Teddy Wang's will was a forgery.

All five judges on the court agreed there was no basis to suggest a "multi- party conspiracy" existed to back the claim that the will, which famously called Nina Wang, Teddy's "one life, one love," was forged.

In the absence of such evidence, the handwritten will, made in 1990, less than a month before Teddy Wang was abducted and disappeared, was ruled to be genuine, leaving his entire estate to his wife.

Nina Wang issued a statement saying that "while there is no surprise to this judgment as this is the outcome we were always confident of obtaining, we are relieved that after all this time the dispute has been brought to a successful completion."

In January this year, she was formally charged with forgery but released on bail of HK$55 million, the largest bail ever here.

The Department of Justice said it would have to consider the judgment before taking any further steps.

The ruling leaves Nina Wang in clear control of a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine this year at US$3.1 billion (HK$24.18 billion), making her 188th in their ranking of the world's richest people.

Arguments that the handwritten will was forged were "inconclusive," the court said, and there was nothing to undermine her claim that the document was genuine.

Lower court judges were "fundamentally flawed" in requiring Nina Wang to dispel suspicious circumstances over the handwritten will, when she had affirmed she knew nothing about the preparation of it.

In a hulking 256-page ruling, all five judges expressed their astonishment at how the dispute dragged on for eight years. "The pleaded issues were a few lines in print," said Judge Henry Litton.

"Had the [trial] judge exercised proper control of the proceedings, the evidence would have been confined to a narrow compass and apart from the expert evidence on handwriting, would have occupied no more than a few days in court."

High Court Judge David Yam, who ruled against Nina Wang, "apparently thought that for Mr Wang to make a will in 1990 leaving everything to his wife and nothing to his father was so unreasonable as to be evidentially probative of forgery. I do not hesitate to characterize this proposition as utterly ridiculous," ruled Justice Lord Scott.

Rather than seeing the will and the circumstances of its writing as suspicious, the judges ruled the details to be more than likely, given the family history.

They noted that the Chinachem empire was regarded by Nina and Teddy Wang as "their baby" and was founded by the couple alone.

The delay in not amending his 1968 will until 1990 was merely a reflection that "many may prefer not to contemplate their own deaths," ruled Justice Roberto Ribeiro, who noted Teddy Wang could hardly anticipate that he would be abducted less than a month later and that a formal will signed by solicitors would be a matter of urgency.

Teddy was never seen again after the 1990 kidnapping and Nina Wang operated Chinachem Group using a power of attorney after the disappearance, insisting he was still alive.

In 1997, Teddy Wang's father, Wang Din-shin filed a probate action applying for a declaration that Teddy Wang was dead and that a will made in 1968 leaving everything to the father, should be executed. His son was declared legally dead in 1999.

Lord Scott found trial judge Yam "remarkably insensitive to conclude that Nina Wang's resistance to probate proceedings were suspicious enough to give rise to assertions that she forged the will."

In 1999, during probate, the court opened a sealed envelope she presented, revealing four documents she said she was given by her husband. One of them was the contested will.

The will was signed by Teddy Wang and counter-signed by a close family servant, Tse Ping-yim, who later affirmed that he witnessed Teddy Wang sign the document in 1990.

Nina Wang said she was told not to open the envelope until after his death.

The judges concluded there was no evidence she was lying. "The inference of serious criminal misconduct cannot properly be drawn from mere conjecture and suspicion," Litton said.

Her father-in-law claimed the will was fraudulent and the signatures forged. During the original trial in 2001 and 2002, witnesses for the father pointed to "suspicious circumstances" in Tse's testimony and Nina Wang's efforts to delay the probate action.

The judges unanimously agreed that given the handwriting evidence is inconclusive, nothing else really mattered. "Nowhere, in his judgment did Yam spell out what precisely was the object of suspicion," Litton ruled.

Counsel for Wang Din-shin, Albert Tsang, said this is the "end of the road" for the case but he expects vigorous arguments over costs for the eight-year proceedings.

Controversy and intrigue is sure to continue to surround Nina Wang, who is notoriously frugal and, many would say, downright odd. She also has said she is in danger and travels with 50 bodyguards.

The night before the ruling, her brother Kung Yan-sum - who testified for her - was beaten by four men with bats on the street. His dog was also assaulted. - THE STANDARD    17 Sept 2005


Wang charged with forging Teddy's will

Nina Wang, one of Hong Kong's most controversial and flamboyant personalities, was charged Friday with forging her dead husband's will in order to secure his multimillion-dollar fortune. She was released on a cash bail of HK$55 million.

The 67-year-old Wang, chairwoman of the Chinachem Group whose personal fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at US$2.3 billion (HK$17.9 billion), was formally charged more than two years after her arrest in December 2002 for allegedly forging the 1990 will of her late husband Teddy.

She was released on HK$5 million bail at the time.

Wang was accompanied by her team of lawyers and a phalanx of bodyguards when she appeared at the Eastern Magistrates' Court.

Jonathan Midgley, Wang's lawyer, said after the brief court hearing: ``The case has been pending for some time. Today, the only thing that has changed is that Mrs Wang now has the opportunity to establish her innocence in court. If you don't mind, we will leave all the talking to be done in court.''

He called the staggering HK$55 million bail ``perfectly reasonable.''

Wang was charged by the Commercial Crime Bureau with three counts.

The first of these was that between April 12, 1997, and January 16, 1998, Wang and another unknown party forged Teddy Wang's will, claiming the document, dated March 12, 1990, was his last will.

The second charge relates to allegations that Wang knowingly used the forged will on January 16, 1998, to induce someone to accept it as genuine.

The third count accuses Wang of perverting the course of justice. It was alleged that between January 16, 1998, and November 21, 2002, she produced the forged will in the Court of First Instance claiming it to be the last will and used it as her defense in the probate case between herself and her father-in-law Wang Din-shin.

Nina Wang, known for her colorful wardrobe, wore a burgundy Chinese-style blouse and a black mini-skirt when she appeared in court. She also sported a frizzy coiffure, having shed her trademark pigtails.

She appeared calm and collected in the brief hearing, telling the court that she fully understood the charges against her. Wang will have to return to court on March 23 for another hearing.

In the meantime, she is required to surrender all travel documents to the Commercial Crime Bureau and not to leave Hong Kong without first informing the bureau of her itinerary at least 48 hours in advance.

She is not allowed to contact directly or indirectly witnesses involved in this case or the ongoing legal dispute between herself and her father-in-law.

Wang has been embroiled in one of the most dramatic and riveting legal battles in recent Hong Kong history, a long duel with her 93-year-old father-in-law over control of her late husband's estate.

Wang Din-shin has accused her of committing adultery while married to his son.

The 1990 handwritten will named Nina Wang as the sole beneficiary of an estate valued then at about HK$1 billion.

Teddy Wang was kidnapped on April 10, 1990, and is presumed to have been murdered but his body has never been found. The contested will was written 28 days before the kidnapping.

Nina Wang managed the Chinachem Group, one of Hong Kong's largest private property developers, after Teddy's disappearance, and transformed it into a HK$27 billion business empire.

She was given approval by the Court of Appeal in November last year to go to the Court of Final Appeal to contest control of her husband's estate, following consecutive defeats in the lower court and the same appellate court.

It is understood that she will lose much of her fortune if the estate goes to her father-in-law. -   by Jonathan Li     HK STANDARD    29 Jan 2005

Nina Wang: Asia's richest woman

'Asia's richest woman' granted court appeal over husband's estate

Hong Kong tycoon Nina Wang, reputed to be the richest woman in Asia, has been granted a court appeal to seek control of her late husband's multi-billion dollar estate.

The 66-year-old's bid will be heard by the Court of Final Appeal but no hearing date has yet been set, a judiciary spokesman said.

Wang, who is famed for her bright-coloured, flowery mini-skirts and red hair worn in pigtails, was previously ruled to have forged the will of her husband Teddy Wang, who was declared dead in 1999 after his disappearance in 1990.

The court gave his estate, valued at more than three billion dollars, to her father-in-law Wang Din-shin, 93.

The fake document named Nina Wang as the sole executor and beneficiary of her husband's huge estate.

Wang then took the case to the Court of Appeal which decided to uphold the court's original decision on June 28. But the High Court has now given Wang leave to take her claim to the Court of Final Appeal.

The legal dispute has raged through Hong Kong's courts for the best part of a decade since Teddy Wang vanished in 1990 after a reported kidnap attempt.

His body is believed to have been dumped in the South China Sea by gangsters. He was declared dead nine years later.

At stake is the Chinachem property group, of which Wang assumed control when her husband was declared dead. She has since built it up into a 27 billion Hong Kong dollar (3.4 billion US) property empire.

In February, Forbes magazine estimated Wang's personal worth at 2.3 billion US dollars.   -  18 Nov 2004

Nina Wang loses latest fight for control of $27b empire

Asia's richest woman, Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, yesterday lost the latest battle with her father-in-law for control of the $27 billion Chinachem empire when the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that her husband's will leaving her the company was forged.

Mrs Wang now looks likely to take the civil probate hearing to the Court of Final Appeal - Hong Kong's highest court - in an effort to stop the company from falling into the hands of Wang Din-shin.

It was not all bad news for Mrs Wang as the three judges of the Court of Appeal - Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, Madam Justice Maria Yuen Ka-ning and Mr Justice William Waung Sik-ying - unanimously rejected the finding by Court of First Instance judge Mr Justice David Yam Yee-kwan that two of the four documents purported to be the will were "probably written by the defendant herself".

Mr Justice Yeung described the judge's finding as unreasonable and unsubstantiated.

"His inference - leading to a serious and important finding of fact possibly with far-reaching consequences - was haphazard and poorly supported," Mr Justice Yeung said.

This latest ruling is expected to be analysed by police who arrested Mrs Wang upon Mr Justice Yam's delivery and after Wang Din-shin raised fraud allegations in 1999.

At the centre of the record-breaking 172-day trial before Mr Justice Yam, which ended on October 15, 2002 was a March 12, 1990 document that read: "I Teddy Wang [Teh-huei] ... make this will so that after I die all of my property will be given to my wife, Nina Kung Yu-sum."

It was accompanied by three documents that claimed he hated his family and left everything to Mrs Wang, his "one life, one love".

The will was made almost one month before Teddy Wang was kidnapped and never seen again.

But Wang Din-shin, 91, claimed the 1990 documents were forged and produced a 1968 will that bequeathed the estate to him. Mr Justice Yam later ruled in his favour.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Yeung and Madam Justice Yuen upheld the finding that Mrs Wang failed to prove the documents were her husband's will, and that the signatures on the 1990 documents were forged. Mr Justice Waung dissented.

Chinachem was unavailable for comment yesterday. Administrators of Teddy Wang's estate are accusing Mrs Wang of having transferred his holding in Chinachem subsidiary Chime to herself.   - by Sara Bradford and Peggy Sito     SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST  June 29, 2004

Nina Wang loses appeal

Flamboyant businesswoman Nina Wang appears to have finally lost her battle for control of her late husband's estate, valued at more than HK$1 billion, in a case that a Court of Appeal judge yesterday described as ``unparalleled in the legal history of Hong Kong''.

Wang, 66, noted for her colourful mini-skirts and red-dyed hair, has been fighting for control of Teddy Wang's estate, notably wealthy property company Chinachem, since he disappeared in 1990. He is believed to have been murdered by a kidnap gang.

The Court of Appeal, in a two-to-one ruling yesterday, upheld an earlier judgment of 2002 that Teddy Wang's signatures on a will bequeathing everything to his wife were forged.

Nina Wang had hired six handwriting experts from the mainland to testify on her behalf. Three of them, including Jia Yuwen, a professor at a mainland police college, said Wang's signatures were genuine.

An independent expert said the signatures ``were probably not written by Wang''.

Justice Wally Yeung said yesterday: ``In effect, Professor Jia's approach selected only features - trivial and arbitrary, I might add - that supported the genuineness of the questioned signatures.''

But the dissenting judge cited what he said were ``serious errors'' in the earlier court case - leaving the door ajar for a last chance appeal to the Court of Final Appeal.

Nina Wang is free on bail of HK$5 million, posted in December 2002, on suspicion of forging the will. The case against her is still pending, police confirmed yesterday.

The estate now passes legally to Nina Wang's 93-year-old father-in-law, Wang Din-shin, who founded Chinachem.

Justice Yeung told the court: ``The resources of the parties or the ingenuity of counsel, or both, resulted in a record-breaking 172-day trial.

``Unparalleled in the legal history of Hong Kong, the trial was a chimera, with a fire-breathing mouth that had devoured a significant part of our judicial capacity and a serpent's tail in the form of a 600-page judgment.''

But this may not be the end of the affair. Wang, listed by Forbes magazine as Hong Kong's richest woman, could appeal against the ruling.

Her chief lawyer, Brian Gilchrist, said the legal team would examine the outcome fully before considering further action.

The issue of the timing of Wang's death was reviewed yesterday. In support of his claim, the father had ascertained that his son probably died on or about the day he disappeared.

In reference to Nina Wang, Justice Yeung said there had been ``an obvious attempt to defeat the father's application to swear to Wang's death''.

Nina Wang had earlier claimed to have spoken to Teddy Wang twice after his kidnapping: on April 23, 1990, and on December 14, 1996.

His body has never been found. He was officially declared dead in 1999.

He had previously been kidnapped in 1983 and was released after payment of a HK$75 million ransom.

Nina Wang's lawyers claimed that her husband had bequeathed his estate to his wife and excluded his father because of his alleged ``womanising'' and his failure to financially support Teddy Wang's education.

But the court heard that Wang provided his parents with a Chinachem flat and gave them HK$19,000 every month.

Justice Maria Yuen said the entire case had ``been bedevilled by far too many peripheral issues. There was and is only one main issue: were the documents being propounded signed by the deceased as his will?''

But the dissenting judge in the ruling, Justice William Waung, said: ``It is regrettable that the heat and emotion generated throughout this legal process have clouded the essential questions which should be asked and answered for a proper resolution of the dispute.

``The fundamental complaint of the wife against the judgment [of the earlier court] is that the judge failed to recognise the true issues of the case, namely execution [validating legal documents] and forgery, and that the judge committed serious errors under each and every important issue in this case.''

However, Justice Yeung said that although the judgment of the earlier court case might not have been perfect, ``the judge's mistakes and shortcomings of his judgment do not enhance the probability of the wife's case. They do not prove the genuineness of the questioned signatures''.

Wang has now been left with her father-in-law's court costs, but the judgment allows her to proceed with an appeal for those costs.    - by David Hilton    THE STANDARD      29 June 2004 

Nina Wang is appealing against last month's ruling.

Hong Kong police have questioned one of Asia's wealthiest women, Nina Wang, over the alleged forgery of her husband's will, according to local media reports.

The reported investigation comes after a judge ruled last month that the will used by Nina Wang to claim millions of dollars was a fake.

The court ruled that a 1990 will that appeared to have been hand-written by her husband Teddy, and which left everything to his wife, was falsified.

One month after the will was written, Mr Wang was kidnapped and has never been seen since.

He was declared dead in 1999 and his father began trying to reclaim the fortune.

The Wang story has captivated Hong Kong because of its mix of high-finance, sex and deceit.

Appeal
Local television and radio stations said 64-year-old Ms Wang was questioned on Wednesday, although a police spokeswoman refused to identify the woman involved.

"A 60-odd-year-old woman is assisting police in a suspected forgery case," the police spokeswoman said.

Ms Wang, known for her pigtails and exuberant dress-sense, will have to hand back at least part of her $2.4bn fortune to her father-in-law Wang Din-shin, whom the court ruled should be the sole executor and beneficiary of his son's estate.

Wang Din-shin, now 91, stands to receive about $128m under the ruling, though Ms Wang's lawyers have vowed to appeal.

Three wills
The case revolved around three wills.

The first was written in 1960 and would have split Teddy Wang's estate equally between his wife and his father.

In 1968, following allegations that his wife had had an affair, Mr Wang changed his will and left everything to his father. This will is now seen as legally valid.

Ms Wang will hardly be left penniless however. Since her husband's disappearance she has built up his property company, Chinachem, into one of Hong Kong's largest privately-owned companies.  - 11 December, 2002,  BBC

With her antenna-like pigtails, Nina Wang is one of Hong Kong's least likely moguls. She may also be one of the shrewdest. After assuming control of her husband Teddy Wang's estate a decade ago, she transformed his property development company, the Chinachem Group, into a multi-billion dollar behemoth. But the good times may be coming to an end. After a 171-day courtroom inheritance battle, a Hong Kong judge ruled on Nov. 21 that Nina Wang had "probably" forged her husband's will. The judge awarded Teddy Wang's estimated $128 million estate to his 90-year-old father, Wang Din-shin. The decision is the latest twist in a case that dates back to Teddy Wang's unsolved 1990 kidnapping. (His body was never found, but he was declared dead in 1999). The tycoon had changed his will in 1968 after discovering that his wife was allegedly having an affair, and had named his father as the inheritor. But in 1990, Nina produced another will dated a month prior to her husband's disappearance; it named "my beloved wife ... the one I love most on Earth" as sole beneficiary. Given that the gruff Teddy was not known to spout love poetry, the new will's romance novel stylings were a prime reason for its rejection. The fate of Chinachem, a private company, is still murky. Nina will appeal, but for now the nonagenarian Wang Din-shin is Hong Kong's newest centi-millionaire.  - Time Asia 2 Dec 2002 

Nina Wang invited to aid police probe

Chinachem Group chairwoman Nina Wang was ``invited'' by the Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB) yesterday to assist in an investigation related to her late husband's will.

Bureau officers searched Nina Wang's office in Chinachem's headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui East for evidence yesterday, two weeks after a High Court ruling that the will naming her sole beneficiary of Teddy Wang's entire estate was a forgery.

The action came as Nina Wang's lawyers were preparing an appeal against the decision of Judge David Yam, ensuring that the long-running and expensive case would drag on.

``The CCB is now investigating a suspected forged will case that happened in 1990,'' a Police Public Relations Branch spokeswoman said. ``A woman suspect, aged above 60, was invited for the investigation,'' she said without naming Nina Wang. No further details were available as the case was ongoing, she said.

TVB said the raid, which began about noon, involved two teams of officers, one of which went in through the front entrance and the other through the car park. A spokeswoman for Chinachem declined to comment.

Nina Wang, 64, last month lost Hong Kong's longest civil trial in her effort to keep the estate of her husband, who has not been seen since he was kidnapped in 1990.

The case focused on a handwritten will that Nina Wang claimed her husband penned in March 1990, a month before the kidnap, that bequeathed his entire estate to her.

The exact value of the estate was not known, although it was earlier estimated at HK$27.5 billion.

The court heard that Teddy Wang's first will, made in 1960, divided his estate equally between his father, Wang Din-shin, and his wife.

But he changed his mind in 1968 and made a new will declaring his father sole executor and beneficiary.

Teddy Wang was declared legally dead in September 1999 and his father began a civil suit to claim the estate.

He asserted the 1990 will was forged and asked the court to recognise the 1968 document.

The 1990 will, which purports to carry the signatures of Teddy Wang and witness Tse Ping-yim, named Nina Wang sole executor and beneficiary of the entire estate, including Chinachem Group.

Justice Yam wrote in his 558-page verdict: ``I have no doubt that the questioned signatures of Wang and Tse are forged signatures and the 1990 documents are forged documents.''

The court ordered Nina Wang to pay 85 per cent of her father-in-law's legal costs.

The businesswoman, who has a top-notch legal team protecting her billions, is believed to be facing a bill that already runs into tens of millions of dollars.

The 171-day hearing is estimated to have cost Nina Wang about HK$50 million in legal costs.

Soon after the verdict, the police said they would

report to the Department of Justice on the likelihood of criminal prosecution.

Separately, a spokesman with Johnson Stokes & Master, the law firm representing Nina Wang, said yesterday it was preparing an appeal on her behalf and would file it soon.

Dubbed Asia's richest woman, Nina Wang's worth was estimated at US$2.4 billion (HK$18.72 billion) this year by Forbes magazine.

Nicknamed ``Little Sweetie'' for her habit of wearing her hair in ribbon-bedecked pigtails, Wang is also known for her love of dogs, disco-dancing and bright-red miniskirts.

She was born in 1937 in Shanghai to an affluent family. Her father was a businessman and her mother was a doctor.

Teddy and Nina Wang were childhood sweethearts in Shanghai where, according to Nina Wang, she dated Teddy from when she was 11 years old.

She followed Teddy to Hong Kong in 1955 and they married when she was 19. Teddy Wang took over his family's pharmaceutical and vinyl industries business.

In the early 1960s, Teddy Wang moved into property, established the Chinachem Group and started to build his business empire in earnest.

The sprawling Chinachem Group, now the biggest private developer in Hong Kong, is mainly involved in real estate, including shopping centres, residential and commercial properties in the city.  - Foster Wong    12 Dec 2002

Lawyers for Asia's richest woman said on Tuesday that a will bequeathing her late husband's massive estate to her could not have been fake.

Wrapping up one of Hong Kong's most colourful probate cases oozing tales of adultery and murder, lawyers described Nina Wang and her late husband Teddy Wang as having been very close and said testimony of handwriting experts proved the will was genuine.

The marathon, 171-day hearing, which began in August last year, surrounds Teddy's multi-billion dollar estate, over which Nina and her father-in-law, Wang Din-shin, 90, are battling.

Forbes magazine this year estimated Nina's fortunes at US$2.4 billion (HK$18.7 billion), with the company her husband left behind making up the bulk of it.

At the heart of the case is a handwritten will which Nina says was penned and signed by Teddy in March 1990, a month before he was kidnapped and never seen again.

Teddy was declared legally dead in September 1999.

The will, which contains the purported signatures of Teddy and witness Tse Ping-yim, named Nina sole executor and beneficiary of his entire estate, including Chinachem Group, Hong Kong's largest private property developer.

However, Teddy's father, Wang Din-shin, says the will was forged. He wants the court to recognise a March 1968 will in which Teddy made him the sole executor and beneficiary.

"That signature (on the handwritten 1990 will) was not written by him (Teddy)...that would be an instance of forgery," said Edward Chan, Wang's lawyer.

But Nina's lawyer, Martin Lee, said there was no way the 1990 handwritten will could have been fake, adding that the signatures of Teddy and Tse matched samples and had been written naturally.

"Whenever a forger forges signatures, there's bound to be unnatural strokes," Lee told the court.

"But Mr Wang's signature has altogether 33 strokes and Mr Tse has 34 strokes. For the forger to get all 67 strokes right on one sheet of paper...surely it'll be a very difficult exercise."

LOVING COUPLE?
The bitter court battle has thrown up unexpected twists from what seemed to be a fairytale romance between two childhood sweethearts in old Shanghai.

Nina and Teddy, whose well-to-do families were bound by business, played together as children and she moved to moved to Hong Kong in 1955 to marry him when she was 18.

Never seen in public without her schoolgirl pigtails and gaudy dresses, Nina, 64, is one of Hong Kong's best recognised women.

But Wang told the court last year Teddy cut his childhood sweetheart out of his 1968 will after private detectives found she was having an affair with a warehouse owner that year.

Dozens of photographs purporting to show the alleged affair were produced in court.

But on Tuesday, lawyer Lee said Teddy was widely known to be very close to his wife before his kidnap.

"They went to work together, dined out together, visited sites together, holding hands and so on. Your Lordship has evidence of joint accounts, huge sums of money that would go to the survivor," he said.

The court did not say when it will give its verdict.  - By Tan Ee Lyn   Reuters  15 October 2002      Yahoo! Asia

'Little sweetie' fights for fortune
Hong Kong estate battle: Wife of murdered billionaire clashes with father-in-law

 

A pigtailed tycoon with a penchant for red vinyl miniskirts and discos, Nina Wang catapulted into the ranks of the world's super rich 11 years ago, when her 56-year-old husband was kidnapped by triad gang members and was reportedly drowned in the South China Sea.

Within days, Mrs. Wang, who is also known in Cantonese by the nickname "Little Sweetie," assumed control of her husband's Hong Kong real estate firm, the ChinaChem Group, and became the richest woman in Asia.

With a net worth of almost $7-billion, Forbes magazine ranks Mrs. Wang, 63, as one of the richest women in the world. Britain's Sunday Mail newspaper calculates she has five times the wealth of the Queen.

But now Mrs. Wang is fighting to cling to her wealth and her reputation in a desperate no-holds-barred estate battle with her father-in-law.

The drama, being played out this week in a Hong Kong probate court, includes an 11-year-old murder and nasty allegations of sexual infidelity, greed, forgery and blackmail.

Mrs. Wang's sudden rise to fame and fortune occurred on April 10, 1990, when Teddy Wang Teh-huei, her husband, then the 13th-richest man in Hong Kong, was kidnapped from his Mercedes outside the elite Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The tycoon was bound and gagged and stashed away on a sampan in one of Hong Kong's typhoon shelters while the gang members demanded a $66- million ransom.

Kidnapping tycoons is not unusual in Hong Kong and it was the second time Mr. Wang had been seized. In 1983, his family paid $17-million for his freedom.

But this time, Mr. Wang disappeared. Despite the payment of a $37-million installment on his ransom, he has not been seen since.

A year later, a member of the Sun Yee On triad pleaded guilty to participating in the kidnapping and said Mr. Wang had died when he was thrown into the sea during a police motorboat chase, after gang members had collected their first ransom payment.

Mrs. Wang refused to accept her husband's death and fought attempts to have him declared legally dead. It was a crucial point. Wang Din-shin, her father-in-law and the founder of ChinaChem, sought to reclaim the company, saying he was the sole inheritor of his son's estate, based on a 1968 will.

By insisting her husband was alive, Mrs. Wang, relying on a 1963 document granting her power of attorney in her husband's absence, was able to retain control of his multi-billion-dollar empire, rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Hong Kong's most eccentric billionaires.

As head of the largest privately held real estate company in Hong Kong, she collects rents on more than 200 high-rise housing projects and office buildings and has invested in interests as varied as Taiwan's second-largest shipping company, pharmaceutical companies in the United States, one of Hong Kong's largest movie and leisure companies and the Canadian-based Playdium Entertainment Corp.

ChinaChem also runs meat-packing plants in mainland China, is negotiating to buy Shanghai's historic Peace Hotel and is one of the mainland's largest importers of plastics, petrochemicals, rubber and animal feed.

Four years ago, Mrs. Wang unveiled plans to build the world's tallest building in Hong Kong, proposing to construct a 108-storey office structure called the Nina Tower.

When asked by reporters how she planned to finance the deal, she said she would pay cash. The project was scaled back after Hong Kong officials raised concerns it might get in the way of passenger jets taking off from Hong Kong's new international airport.

Although she is a British subject, the Shanghai-born Mrs. Wang is also a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and remains one of the best connected Hong Kong business leaders on the mainland.

Mr. Wang was finally declared legally dead in 1999. Now, Mrs. Wang's reputation is being dragged through the courts by her father-in-law, who insists he alone has the right to inherit his son's estate and resume control of the business empire he started in Shanghai in the 1930s.

Mr. Wang, 89, says his son disinherited his wife and cut her out of his will in 1968, when he suspected her of having an extramarital affair with one of his company's warehouse operators.

The affair was kept secret for three decades to save the family embarrassment, Mr. Wang says. He says it was he who alerted his son to the liaison when he accidentally ran across his daughter-in-law acting "like boyfriend and girlfriend" with another man at the Hong Kong airport.

His son hired a private detective who allegedly took photographs of Mrs. Wang and her suspected lover. Teddy Wang then allegedly confronted his wife and extracted a confession and an apology from her.

The elder Mr. Wang claims a 1968 will, kept in a bank safety deposit box, names him the sole beneficiary of his son's estate.

Mrs. Wang insists she has a different will, a four-page document prepared entirely in Chinese in 1990 -- just one month before her husband's disappearance -- that leaves everything to her.

Mr. Wang counters the second will is a forgery and has promised to produce experts to prove it.

It is a charge that took a bizarre twist last year, before the probate court case began, when two of Mrs. Wang's lawyers were jailed for three years for attempting to extort $2-million from her by pretending they could produce a forensic report that would prove the authenticity of her 1990 will.

In the end, Mr. Wang may not live long enough to see an end to the legal fight with his daughter-in-law.

Some probate cases, with a lot less at stake, have been known to drag on for almost a decade in Hong Kong's courts.   - Peter Goodspeed     National Post, with files from news services    2001

 


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