The feuding brothers who run the celebrated Fook Lam Moon restaurants are negotiating to reach an out-of-court court settlement, the Court of First Instance heard on Monday.
The latest twist in the family’s legal wrangling, which has continued for two years, came as lawyers for the brothers applied jointly for Monday’s hearing to be held behind closed doors – to “avoid unnecessary publicity about the ongoing negotiation”.
Shareholder and director Chui Pui-kun, the fifth son of restaurant founder Chui Fuk-chuen, and his younger brother, the seventh son Chui Wai-kwan, have both filed petitions to buy out the other’s shares in the holding companies of the restaurants.
Fook Lam Moon, with one restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui and one in Wan Chai, is known for serving fine Chinese cuisine, attracting celebrities and wealthy businesspeople. Tycoons including Joseph Lau Luen-hung, Lee Shau-kee and Li Ka-shing are frequent patrons.
The family in-fighting began with a defamation lawsuit brought against the younger brother in November 2009.
In filing petitions to buy out one another’s shares, both brothers alleged the companies’ affairs had been conducted in a manner prejudicial to their own interests.
The court has heard that the dispute at the centre of their three lawsuits concerns properties. Lawyers for the older brother told the court earlier that the issues overlapping in the three cases were the brothers’ disputes over the sale of a property in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, and a proposal to obtain a banking facility of HK$50 million, for the property in Johnston Road, which houses the Wan Chai restaurant.