Bereaved parents fight to save home from 'loan sharks'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2008, 12:00am

The parents of a woman who killed herself after being targeted by alleged loan sharks from Macau are fighting to keep their home, after the group sought to enforce a contract the dead woman had signed after an unlucky night at the tables, a writ alleges.

Kam Siu-sze, 23, was found dead in a car parked on Tai Mo Shan Road on August 31, 2004, just three days after she returned from an ill-fated trip to Macau, the writ, filed in the High Court on Monday, alleges.

Her parents, Nip Mei-wai and Kam Yuk-fai, are seeking a declaration that a Chinese-language document signed by Kam Siu-sze and purporting to sell the flat they live in to Li Kwai-san is null and void.

They allege their daughter was forced into signing the document after running foul of loan sharks operating at a casino in Macau.

The writ alleges that after Kam Siu-sze had lost her money at a casino, she was approached by a group of people who offered to lend her more. She borrowed some at first and then lost it. The group then 'pretended' to lend her more.

'However, [she] could not gamble or place bets at her own free will,' the writ alleges. 'Instead of giving money to [her] directly for gambling, those people ... placed bets for [her].

'When the bet placed by those unknown people was won, [Kam Siu-sze] was not allowed to take back the chips. Those people continued to bet by placing the original bet with the chips won ... they continued the process by rolling up the bet until the bet was lost.'

Eventually, the group claimed that Kam Siu-sze had managed to bet and lose HK$850,000. The writ alleges they then forced her to admit she owed the money and threatened her until she signed some papers confirming the loan. The writ claims she had no idea what she was signing and deliberately used a different signature than usual.

Once she had signed, she was escorted back to Hong Kong on the morning of August 28, 2004, by a man tasked with collecting the money from her parents, who contacted police.

Police questioned her and the man before releasing them to discuss the issue. Kam Siu-sze was found dead later that night in a car with the windows taped up and a pan of burned charcoal in the back seat.

It was only after her death that her parents found out about the alleged agreement for the sale.

The document, which was lodged with the Lands Registry, purports to be a contract of sale allegedly selling the property for HK$1.2 million - HK$300,000 below market value at the time - to Mr Li.

According to the writ, a deposit of HK$850,000 was paid to Kam Siu-sze and the purchase would be completed on September 27, 2004.

The parents want the document declared void as it was signed, they allege, under duress. They are also claiming damages and costs.