Niece told to repay assets taken from aunt's estate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 June, 2011, 12:00am


The niece of a former Po Leung Kuk chairman's wife invented evidence that her dead aunt's son was adopted in a failed bid to stop an estate trustee from claiming more than HK$40.5 million from her, a court found.

The niece, Dorothy Ho Yuen-ping, 55, was ordered yesterday by the Court of First Instance to pay to HSBC Private Trustee the money and shares she obtained by undue influence from her aunt Chan Ho Lai-kuen. Chan, the wife of Chan Chiu-sheung, who was chairman of the Po Leung Kuk in 1965 and 1966, died in 2005, aged 88.

Ho unsuccessfully claimed that the money and shares - part of Chan's HK$81 million estate - were a gift to her because she had lived with her aunt since the age of 12 and her aunt treated her like a daughter. She also claimed her aunt had changed her mind about giving the bulk of her assets to her only grandson as the child's father was not Chan's biological son. The court found this to be false, based on DNA evidence.

Deputy Judge Russell Coleman said: 'It is certainly extraordinary that there should have been an attempt to nominate a 55-year-old woman as a beneficiary to child education savings plans in place of the originally named beneficiary ... a child in education.' He ruled that the assets received by Ho were 'wholly out of proportion' to the nature of the relationship between her and Chan and had been obtained by undue influence. 'The defendant had put forward numerous parts of a story which are simply false,' he said. 'Unfortunately, it seems to me that the defendant ... used her undue influence over the deceased to procure greater assets.'