Tony Chan seeks extra month to prepare appeal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 February, 2010, 12:00am

Fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen is seeking an extra month to prepare an appeal against the rejection of his claim to the multibillion-dollar estate of late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.

Solicitors from law firm Richards Butler yesterday filed an application with the city's High Court for more time to submit Chan's grounds of appeal, saying his counsel were not available.

Chan (pictured) is appealing against the judgment of Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon, of the Court of First Instance, who struck down his claim on February 2. Under court procedures, he had about a month from the date of the judgment to file his grounds of appeal.

Chan had claimed Wang, who died of cancer in April 2007, left him her entire Chinachem empire out of love, in a will made in 2006.

Lam ruled that the 2006 will was forged and that a 2002 will that left the estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, governed by her siblings, was the only and valid last will.

Lam's judgment prompted the arrest of Chan the next day on suspicion of forgery.

During the investigation, police searched Chan's home in Gough Hill Road on The Peak, as well as the offices of his former legal firm, Haldanes. He was later released on HK$5 million bail, and is free to travel.

On February 8, Chan changed solicitors, dropping Haldanes and hiring Richards Butler.

Two days later, solicitors from Richards Butler filed a claim for legal protection of the materials that were seized by police from Haldanes during their investigation.

Chan's latest application will be heard in open court before Lam, but the date of the hearing has yet to be fixed.

The Chinachem Charitable Foundation is expected to oppose the application.

The latest filing makes no mention of the criminal investigation, according to a source who is familiar with the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Chan's probate battle, he was represented by four barristers including British QC Ian Mill, Edward Chan SC, Jonathan Harris SC and Frances Lok.

In December last year, Harris was appointed a judge of the Court of First Instance.

He will no longer be involved in Chan's case.