Human Interest

Concubine rights help widow

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 September, 1999, 12:00am

A 91-year-old widow won a share in her late husband's fortune yesterday when a judge ruled in favour of legal rights for concubines.


Robin Sung So-chun's widow succeeded in her claim that two other women in his life were concubines rather than mistresses, making them part of the traditional Chinese family.


This gives the widow, Chan Chiu-lam, and her adopted daughter, Suen Mei-lee, a share in the money he left to concubine Chu Lee, who died in 1987, because the ruling effectively means they were all part of the same family.


If the judge had ruled Chu and Sung So-chung to be mistresses, not concubines, then the money would have passed to Chu's brothers and sisters.


Mr Justice Brian Keith ruled that women who were concubines before September 29, 1949, continued to have their legal rights recognised in modern China.