Brothers agree deal to end restaurant feud
The feuding brothers who run the celebrity Fook Lam Moon restaurants plan to sign a settlement agreement, aiming to end their prolonged court fight with one buying out the other, the High Court heard on Tuesday.
Shareholder and director Chui Pui-kun, the fifth son of restaurant founder Chui Fuk-chuen, and his younger brother and seventh son, Chui Wai-kwan, agreed on Saturday to sign the settlement agreement, the court heard.
They will report on Thursday to the Court of First Instance’s Mr Justice Anthony To Kwai-fung to confirm that they have actually signed it.
The brothers will then take part in a bidding exercise to determine who will buy out the other camp’s shares and at what price.
They are due back to court on December 4 to report the result.
Fook Lam Moon restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai are known for their fine Chinese cuisine and celebrity clientele. Tycoons including Joseph Lau Luen-hung, Lee Shau-kee and Li Ka-shing are regulars.
The family infighting began with a defamation lawsuit brought against the younger brother in November 2009. That led to the brothers filing petitions, two years ago, to buy out each other’s shares in the holding companies involved.
In filing petitions to buy out each other’s shares, both brothers alleged the company’s affairs had been conducted in a manner prejudicial to their own interests.
On Tuesday, the court heard that the settlement agreement to be signed did not include a resolution of the defamation lawsuit. But the brothers had “reached agreement in principle” to resolve the matter, the court was told.
The court has heard that the dispute at the centre of the 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 that houses the Wan Chai restaurant.
Founder Chui Fuk-chuen, born in 1908, was head chef for the Hotung family in his teens. His catering business, Fook Kee, became Fook Lam Moon in 1953.
According to the restaurant’s website, the name was chosen after customers suggested that it meant “good fortune arriving at your door”, and was a promise of fine food. The website says Chui Wai-kwan followed his father and became an apprentice at the age of 14, while Chui Pui-kun took care of the accounting side of the business.
The first Fook Lam Moon restaurant opened in 1972 in Wan Chai. There are branches in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Five more famoud feuding brothers
1) Cain and Abel: according to the bible, the brothers' sibling rivalry came to a head when Cain murdered Abel in a fit of jealousy.
2) Michael Jackson and almost all his brothers: the siblings famously fell out when they reunited for the Victory tour in 1984.
3) Liam and Noel Gallagher: The Oasis brothers were always volatile, but when Noel accused Liam of pulling out of their headline performance at V Festival in 2009 because he had a hangover it sparked a feud that continues today.
4) The Dorsey Brothers: From the mid-30s until the mid-50s musicians Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey refused to speak to each other after Tommy walked off stage because he didn't like the tempo his brother played for a song. They reunited three years before Tommy died.
5) David and Ed Miliband: David seemed the safe bet when he threw his hat into the Labour leadership ring after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stepped down in 2010. That was until his brother Ed also announced he would run - and won.