Yung Kee brother 'not a partner in eatery'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am

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The older of the brothers embroiled in a family feud over the famed Yung Kee roast goose restaurant in Central could not be considered a partner running the business as his father had always maintained absolute control of the company, the Court of First Instance heard yesterday.

Therefore, Kinsen Kam Kwan-sing must sell his 45 per cent share to his brother at a discount, lawyers for the younger sibling, Kam Kwan-lai, suggested. Kam Kwan-lai owns the remaining 55 per cent of the firm.

Kinsen Kam, 64, is seeking a winding-up order against Yung Kee's holding company, claiming he was stripped of his power unfairly when his younger brother seized control of it. He says the alternative is for one brother to buy the other's stake in the HK$1.5 billion company. He contends that, since he has been in a quasi-partnership with his younger brother, his shares should be sold at full value.

The brothers fell out in a dispute over shares a few years after their father died in 2004, the court heard earlier. Their father, Kam Shui-fai, started the venture in 1942.

Lawyers for Kam Kwan-lai argued that the court had no jurisdiction over the case because the holding company was registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Under cross-examination, Kinsen Kam agreed that his father had absolute control over the company and had the right to make final decisions.

But he also said that his father never exercised such power and left his two sons to make decisions.

He also stated in evidence submitted to court that it was his brother's failure to register the holding company in Hong Kong.

John Bleach SC, for Kam Kwan-lai, 63, said this was a serious criminal allegation. Kinsen Kam said: 'I am not making a criminal allegation against my brother. But if it is necessary to have the company registered, my brother would be responsible because he is responsible for the administrative work.'

The case continues before Mr Justice Jonathan Harris on Monday.