Fook Lam Moon son wins access to company board minutes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2011, 12:00am

A son of the late founder of renowned restaurant Fook Lam Moon yesterday won a court order giving him full access to the establishment's board minutes.

The order by the Court of First Instance allows Chui Pui-kun to inspect and photocopy the minutes of the directors' meetings of Fook Lam Moon Restaurant and Fook Lam Moon (Kowloon) Restaurant.

Fook Lam Moon is known for serving fine Chinese cuisine and attracting celebrities and wealthy businessmen, and is dubbed the rich men's canteen. It first opened in Wan Chai in 1972. It later opened a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui and expanded to Japan and the mainland.

The case involves Chui Pui-kun, the family-owned Coqueen Company, younger brother Chui Wai-kwan and others. Both brothers are directors of the Fook Lam Moon companies. Chui Pui-kun and Coqueen say the other directors have repeatedly frustrated their attempts to access the board minutes.

Chui Pui-kun has also filed a libel claim against Chui Wai-kwan. The case will be heard in March.

Recorder Anderson Chow Ka-ming said in his judgment that Chui Pui-kun and Coqueen 'are entitled, as a matter of law, to exercise the right to inspect the board minutes of the companies as often as they wish, and there is no principle which says that they can inspect the documents only once'.

Chui Pui-kun argued that a director had the right to inspect company documents and he did not need to provide any reason for doing so.

Chui Wai-kwan pointed to rules the directors had adopted in June 2008, under which a director wishing to inspect documents had to notify the company in advance. The director had to state the purpose and whether he wanted to make copies.

He said Chui Pui-kun was bound by the rules.

In the wrangle, there have been various allegations, including one regarding an incident when Chui Pui-kun went to look at the minutes books in January last year. He said an elder half-sister and a nephew, son of Chui Wai-kwan, had interfered with his inspection. An exchange of words ensued. The nephew claimed Chui Pui-kun threw a notepad at his head during the incident.

Chow noted that earlier Chui Wai-kwan and others had indicated they would no longer insist Chui Pui-kun comply with the rules. However, it was unclear whether this would extend to all of the board minutes.

He found that Chui Pui-kun's access to the documents had not been impeded. However, he said he could not conclude that Chui Pui-kun had inspected all the minutes and made all the copies that he might want to.