Malaysian tycoon's 'son' turns to HK for will fight
A self-professed heir of a late titled Malaysian succeeded in launching a HK$6 billion probate fight in Hong Kong yesterday, thanks to the recognition in the city's laws of rights of children born out of wedlock.
Lionel Lau Siang Kok claims to be a son of the late tycoon and philanthropist Tan Sri Datuk Lau Gek Poh, who left behind a 60 per cent stake in Lei Shing Hong, a big retailer of luxury cars including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Smart in Northeast Asia that was delisted from the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2008.
The HK$6 billion is the value of the Hong Kong assets. It is not stated what portion he will claim.
The datuk, left in a wheelchair after a 1990 stroke, died aged 92 in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. He is the founder of Malaysian-listed Hap Seng, which operates diverse businesses from car trading to property development and plantations.
Lionel took his fight to Hong Kong's high court after a Malaysian court in 2010 rejected his application for an order to force his uncle Lau Cho-kun, his nephew and the executor of Lau Gek Poh's will to produce the will in court. He is not named as a beneficiary in the will.
Unlike Hong Kong, Malaysian law does not recognise the estate rights of illegitimate children.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad, of the Court of First Instance, ruled that the executor must produce the will to the court in eight days.
He said there would be a dispute about the validity of the will, when it was executed and whether Lionel was a biological son of the datuk.
Lei Shing Hong's valuation, in Hong Kong dollars, soon before it was delisted