Barrister is no stranger to publicity

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 November, 2003, 12:00am

Barrister Rosaline Wong Wing-yue's lifestyle and her well-publicised friendship with tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung have attracted more attention in the tabloid press than her legal work.

Ms Wong, 33, the youngest daughter of former Court of Appeal judge Michael Wong Kin-chow, first stole the limelight in September 1993, when her father - in a first for local legal history - was given special permission to call her to the bar.

Following in her sister's footsteps, Pauline Wong Tsip-yue, 34, was admitted as a solicitor one year later - also in front of her father - in what was then called the Supreme Court.

Rosaline Wong also has two brothers - one is a doctor and the other works in finance.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Laws at the University of London's King's College, Rosaline Wong was called to the bar both in Hong Kong and Britain in 1993.

Three years later, she started work at Mr Lau's listed company, Chinese Estates Holdings, until 2001.

Their names and pictures regularly featured in newspaper and magazine reports on their friendship and her luxurious lifestyle. Ms Wong has also been frequently pictured beside celebrities in the gossip pages.

On Thursday, Mr Lau, the executive director of Chinese Estates Holdings, admitted giving Ms Wong a $30 million luxury flat in Grenville House, Magazine Gap Road, as a gift in 1998. But the tycoon refused to say if he had given her plane tickets, in response to allegations that her father received tickets from Mr Lau.

After leaving Mr Lau's company, Ms Wong resumed practising as a barrister, joining the law chamber of one of her best friends, well-known barrister Cheng Huan, SC, in Central, in 2001. She now mainly specialises in civil cases, but also practises criminal law.

She was described by a lawyer yesterday as 'an intelligent young barrister and a loyal friend', but someone who could also be 'a little bit arrogant'.

Another legal source said she had gone through a lot of ups and downs in her relationship with Mr Lau.

The source added that when Ms Wong worked for Mr Lau, she was entitled to fringe benefits under her contract, such as plane tickets and the use of credit cards.

Ms Wong did not return calls from the South China Morning Post last night.