Tycoon's nemesis to launch book

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 December, 2007, 12:00am

Few shoppers at Shen Ting's boutique in Lam Tin realise they are buying clothes from the woman who played a role in the downfall of Shanghai property tycoon Chau Ching-ngai.

The 41-year-old is launching a book on Thursday telling how her fight to prevent her parents' eviction from their family home in Shanghai sparked off a legal battle against Chau, who was jailed for 16 years last month.

Shen, born and raised in Shanghai's Beijing West Road, moved to Hong Kong in 1995. She sells mid-priced women's wear in a 120 sq ft boutique in a shopping centre and lives alone in a government-subsidised flat in Kwai Chung. In 2003, the mother of two decided to fight for reasonable compensation for her parents.

But those were troubled times. She was divorced in 2004, the same year she lost her home return permit - which means she is now unable to visit her parents.

Her book, Who Sparked Off the Zhou Zhengyi Case? Shen Ting and Zheng Enchong Take On the Shanghai Gang, is published by Hong Kong's Open Magazine.

Much of her book is devoted to how lawyer Zheng Enchong helped her family and more than 2,000 neighbouring households fight against an eviction order, which would allow Chau to redevelop the area. But she lost that battle.

Zheng was jailed for three years on the grounds of leaking state secrets. He was released last year, remains under 24-hour surveillance and is placed under house arrest from time to time.

But Shen's legal battle contributed to the fall of Chau, once dubbed the richest man in Shanghai. He was jailed for bribery, falsification of tax invoices and embezzlement.

'I lost my family because I believed justice must be done,' Shen said. 'I divorced because I didn't want my family to go through unnecessary pressure. I was also deprived of the rights to visit my parents ... My lawyer is still deprived of freedom. I hope the book will raise the profile of this case and lead to his eventual freedom.'

She added: 'I'm obliged to do it because this is all I can do to help Zheng Enchong. He knew helping me would land him in jail, but he still took up the case. He was the only lawyer in Shanghai willing to do it.'

Shen collected a human rights prize on behalf of the imprisoned lawyer in Germany in 2005.