Money left to lost son, court told

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2010, 12:00am

The late co-founder of the Bossini chain left a third of his HK$1 billion estate to a missing son whose whereabouts remain a mystery, it emerged in court yesterday.

The tale of tycoon Law Ting-pong's missing scion and his right to a third of his father's wealth was revealed at the Court of First Instance, where Law's descendants are arguing over a letter of intent in which he set out his wishes for his assets.

Law died without leaving a will in 1996. His second son, Law Shuk-hoi, has asked the court to help settle the matter. Law said in the letter that he wished for his wealth to be split into three portions, one of which was for an offspring lawyers referred to as 'the lost son', should he return. The lawyers declined to identify the son or say when he went missing.

'It was a father's wish to make up for his not being able to discharge his fatherly duty to the lost son,' said Benjamin Yu, who was representing six of Law's children and grandchildren. Law Shuk-hoi contends that his father left him one-third of his fortune as a gift, though he was duty-bound to consider giving the money to his father's descendants.

One line in the letter, said the second son's barrister, Paul Hsieh, 'plainly confers extremely wide discretionary powers' on him.

But several of Law Shuk-hoi's siblings claim their father meant to create a trust under which their brother was obligated to not only consider distributing the money, but to actually distribute it. Yu said the letter showed Law did not intend to leave the money to his second son as a gift.

Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon has reserved judgment. Law Shuk-hoi's niece and Law's granddaughter Wendy Law Wing-yee earlier pushed for her uncle to give a full account of Law's assets. That action has been stayed pending the ruling on yesterday's hearing.