Rice-cooker tycoon's estate sued for HK$1b
Five companies linked to late rice-cooker tycoon William Mong Man-wai's Shun Hing Group are suing his estate for more than HK$1 billion.
They claim Mong took the money 'without proper authority' between 2002, the year of his high-profile divorce, and 2010, when he died. Bank of East Asia chairman David Li Kwok-po and solicitor Vic Choi Fan-keung, the executors of Mong's estate, are named as defendants.
Four companies that are part of the group - Shun Hing Holdings, Shun Hing Electronic Holdings, Shun Hing Electronic Trading and Shun Hing Technology - say in a High Court writ that Mong owed them HK$941 million. Liberian-registered Timmerton Company, which owns 40 per cent of Shun Hing Holdings, is seeking US$133 million, according to a separate writ. Both writs were filed on Wednesday
A Shun Hing Group spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, said the legal proceedings had been instituted by agreement between both sides.
'They are normal and reasonable legal proceedings,' she said.
The filings are the latest step in a long legal battle over Mong's fortune, which is said to be in the tens of billions of Hong Kong dollars.
Last year Mong's first wife, Serena Yang Hsueh-chi, their three daughters and two sons filed a writ seeking a court declaration on their entitlement to the Huge Surplus Trust and/or its assets.
The trust owns 50 per cent of Shun Hing through its representative, Huge Surplus Limited.
In April last year Li and Choi applied to the court for direction regarding various claims by Yang; she and Mong's daughter Cynthia Mong Sien-yee; Mong's widow Wong Pui-fan; and Timmerton.
Born in Hong Kong, Mong studied at La Salle College and then in Japan. He set up his company Shun Hing Hong in the city in 1953 and used his father's business connections with Panasonic to begin importing Japanese goods.
He struggled to sell the first eight rice cookers he imported and had to go door to door to sell them, as well as demonstrate them in Japanese stores and restaurants. In 1965 alone he sold 88,000 cookers and over 50 years he sold 10 million.
He married Yang in 1958. Their 2002 divorce led to a legal dispute over HK$4.6 billion of family assets, which was later settled out of court. He remarried and had a daughter with Wong before his death in July 2010 at the age of 82.
Shun Hing Holdings has five shareholders - William and David Mong, Huge Surplus, Timmerton and a British Virgin Islands-registered firm, which is also called Timmerton, according to its latest annual return.
Shun Hing Group is the sole agent for Panasonic products in Hong Kong and Macau.
The number of imported rice cookers William Mong started his business with in the 1950s. He would go on to sell 10 million