Brother embroiled in feud for Yung Kee dies

Kinsen Kam passes away ahead of restaurant's 70th anniversary and delivery of court verdict

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

The battle between two brothers over the ownership of Hong Kong's famed Yung Kee Restaurant has taken another turn with the death of one of the siblings.

Kinsen Kam Kwan-sing, 66, was found unconscious in his Happy Valley home on Friday and was certified dead on arrival at an unnamed hospital.

Family members said Kam had not been feeling well but they refused to discuss the circumstances surrounding his death, according to a Cable TV report.

It was business as usual yesterday at the restaurant, which remained open. It was not known if the planned celebrations next month for the restaurant's 70th anniversary would go ahead.

Yung Kee, in Wellington Street, Central, is the Kams' family business and is known for its roast goose and fine cuisine. The family became the talk of the town after Kinsen challenged his younger brother, Ronald Kam Kwan-lai, in court over the ownership of Yung Kee.

Kinsen petitioned the court in 2010 to wind up the holding company unless Ronald agreed to buy his 45 per cent stake.

The case was heard earlier this year. The court has yet to hand down a verdict.

Five family members of founder Kam Shui-fai, who died in 2004, inherited the assets and shares of the restaurant. Kinsen and Ronald each received 35 per cent of the holdings.

Ronald received a further 10 per cent interest later in a bequest from a deceased sibling. Their mother then gave her 10 per cent interest to Kinsen. But a transfer of shares from a sister to Ronald then gave the younger brother a 55 per cent majority in Yung Kee shares.

Subsequently, Ronald's son, Carrel Kam Lin-wang, was appointed a director and, in effect, took over the business, the court heard. The company reportedly owns assets worth about HK$2.3 billion.

Yung Kee was first a modest cooked food stall. In 1942, Kam Shui-fai used his savings of HK$4,000 to rent a unit at Wing Lok Street and start the restaurant. Its food earned Yung Kee a place in Fortune magazine's top 15 restaurants in the world in 1968. Yung Kee was also awarded one Michelin star from 2009 to 2011.