Tony Chan will face trial by jury in 'fake will' case
Self-styled fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen will face a jury trial on two criminal charges, after Eastern Court ruled there was sufficient evidence to take his case to the High Court.
Chan, 52, is charged with forgery and the use of a fake will purportedly created by late businesswoman Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum. He pleaded not guilty to both charges at a preliminary hearing yesterday.
Magistrate David Dufton announced the transfer of the case to the High Court and extended Chan's bail to a pre-trial review to be held in the Court of First Instance.
Last week, the magistrate declined to hear Chan's application to stay the criminal proceedings and to exclude the alleged forged will as evidence. Lawyer Alan Hoo SC said his client would be deprived of a fair trial as the document had been damaged by forensic tests.
He also argued Chan had not been notified before the tests and had not been invited to witness them. But Dufton said the issue should be left to the courthouse where Chan would face trial. Hoo agreed with the magistrate yesterday that there was enough evidence to take the case to the High Court. Christina Li, a senior chemist at the government laboratories who dealt with the alleged forged will in the tests, and policewoman Wong Lai-ying, who seized the document, confirmed their depositions in court.
Hoo said he would apply for a court order to move evidence containing DNA extracts from the police to the government laboratory, as they 'should be placed in appropriate refrigeration'.
Prosecutor David Perry, a British QC, doubted whether the magistrate had the power to do so. Dufton said he would hear the application.
Wang, former chairwoman of the Chinachem group, died of cancer in April 2007 at the age of 69. Her death sparked a lengthy fight over her estimated HK$50 billion estate.
Chan had said he had notified Wang's family of the will after her death. The Court of Final Appeal ruled in April last year that a 2006 document - which Chan said was Wang's will - was a forgery and handed the estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation.