Loan-for-sex argument falls flat
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A member of the Hotung family sought to wriggle out of repaying part of a $7.5 million loan by claiming he was not legally required to do so as the money had been spent on prostitutes and ballroom hostesses.
Kevin Ho Yau-kwong's tactics were revealed during an appeal against the granting of his application to strike out legal action by securities trader Eugene Chuang Yue-chien for repayment of the sum.
At the earlier hearing in which Master K. Y. Kwan granted the application, Mr Ho argued that Mr Chuang could not recover a $472,171 advance for prostitutes - one of several loans outstanding - because that loan's purpose was immoral.
But in overturning Master Kwan's decision, Mr Justice Geoffrey Ma, sitting in the Court of First Instance, found it was not clear that Mr Chuang knew the real purpose of the loan and that the matter had to be decided at trial.
He also said a strike-out application was not the appropriate way to decide whether the payment of ballroom hostesses and prostitutes made the loans unenforceable.
'The court may expect evidence of what does or does not constitute modern-day morality and whether the patronising of ballroom hostesses and prostitutes is socially acceptable or not,' Mr Justice Ma said.