Taxi tycoon's mistress gets his HK$260m estate
A mistress of a late taxi tycoon emerged victorious yesterday after a court ruled in favour of a will leaving her his wealth.
The ruling was made in what a judge called 'a sad case', referring to the battle over the estate of low-profile businessman Chiu Yau-chuen.
Chiu, who made his fortune by investing the proceeds from a taxi company, died after suffering a heart attack in December 2004 at the age of 55. He left behind three mistresses and 16 children. An ex-wife died before him, having committed suicide in 2003.
According to a document from the deputy commissioner of estate duty in 2005, the provisional net value of Chiu's estate was HK$260 million, and consisted mainly of 33 flats in Baguio Villa in Pok Fu Lam and Estoril Court in Mid-Levels.
In a will dated December 1997, Chiu was to leave his estate to his 14 children then alive. But in a subsequent will dated June 2003, he bequeathed his whole estate to one of his mistresses, Chiu Chung Kwan-ying. He also disinherited nine children born by his late wife.
Six of the nine disinherited children earlier launched a lawsuit against Chiu Chung Kwan-ying in the High Court, claiming their father lacked the mental ability to make the will in June 2003.
The court gave its judgment yesterday, ruling that the 2003 will was valid and dismissing the six plaintiff children's claim.
In doing so, Mr Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor accepted evidence from a neurologist and pharmacologist called by the mistress, and other doctors who had treated the late businessman. They said he did not suffer from any mental impairment.
'Based on the expert evidence that I accept, viewed together with the factual evidence, I find that Mr Chiu did not suffer from any cognitive or emotional impairment at the material times,' the judge said in his written ruling.
The judgment said the plaintiff children could not testify to any abnormality in their father's mind.
The judge said he found that in the eyes of the deceased businessman's family members and others who had interacted with him, he did not show any sign of mental problems.
Chiu Chung Kwan-ying claimed that the late tycoon decided to disinherit the nine children after a dinner in which he perceived some of them had disrespected him.
The number of flats that were owned by late taxi tycoon Chiu Yau-chuen in Pok Fu Lam and Mid-Levels