Widow, 77, fights $4m debt linked to beauty con

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2002, 12:00am

A 77-year-old widow conned into paying millions for beauty products and physiotherapy equipment by a beautician and her husband is fighting off a bank's mortgage claim relating to a $4 million debt incurred by the man.

Ho Yin-yuk wants to stop Dao Heng Bank Ltd from seizing her two Happy Valley flats to settle the $1,287,000 loan that Lam Ka-lok took out on August 15, 1997, and the $2.5 million he borrowed on August 11, 1998.

The bank said the total debt, including interest, stood at $4,018,600.

It said Ms Ho had signed the mortgage documents herself.

However, Ms Ho, who is illiterate, claimed she was under 'undue influence' when she mortgaged her flat at Yuk Sau Mansion in Yuk Sau Street and another at Mint Garden in Cheong Ming Street as collateral for Mr Lam's Dao Heng Bank loans.

The Court of First Instance heard that Ms Ho had agreed to mortgage her flats after Lam and his wife, Bevan Ho Chor-man, had told her she owed a 'foreign lady' $4 million for beauty products.

Ms Ho's lawyers also claimed that law firm Gary K. W. Tam & Co, named as third party in the case, did not clearly explain the mortgage documents to her and failed to ask her to take independent legal advice.

The case continues.

In November last year, Ms Ho won a claim for the return of $16 million of her fortune from the couple after Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen found that Lam and Ho had conned the widow between 1995 and 1998.