Court rejects disciple's bid for monk's estate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 March, 2010, 12:00am

A will made in 1973 by a Buddhist monk to arrange for his multimillion-dollar estate had barred his disciple from claiming gold bars and more than HK$430,000 cash, the Court of First Instance ruled yesterday.

Ko Oi-chi, a disciple of Ip So-kwong, also known as the Venerable Yuen Hang, said Ip had promised to give her some of his wealth including eight gold bars and more than HK$430,000.

But Mr Justice Andrew Chung On-tak held that she could only get HK$10,000 and US$500, as stated in Ip's will.

Ko's claim stemmed from an application made by two other disciples of Ip who asked the court for an order to have a charitable trust set up for the estate - jewels, gold and fixed and savings deposits in Hong Kong dollars and foreign currencies - valued at HK$26.8 million.

The two disciples are Ng Siu-quing, a deputy chairman of the Buddhist Association of Macau, and Chow Chi-ming.

Ko, Ng and Chow are the co-trustees of Ip's estate.

Ko had objected to the charity plan, saying that Ip had promised to give her the gold bars and money because they were the money from red packets she and her younger sister had been given over the years.

She said Ip left her and her sister the foreign currency savings, amounting to HK$430,814, eight gold bars, gold coins and two jade bracelets. She was told of the plan since she was seven years old.

Chung said in his ruling the amount Ko and her sister would receive was stated in the will Ip wrote in 1973. He agreed Ko would be given the two jade bracelets as her claim was not disputed.

Ip died in 1989.

The court heard that Ip accumulated his wealth through his fung shui business in the 1980s.

Ko could not be reached for comment yesterday.