HK$1b claim on rice-cooker tycoon William Mong's estate rejected
An attempt by a company owned by William Mong Man-wai's first five children to make a quick claim of HK$1 billion from the late rice-cooker tycoon's estate was rejected by the High Court.
Timmerton alleged Mong had misappropriated US$142 million from the company between 2002 and 2009, and asked the High Court to give a summary judgment in its favour, without holding a trial.
Before he died, Timmerton was owned by the tycoon and his children by his first wife Serena Yang Hsueh-chi. After his death, Mong's shares passed to his son David.
The company's application was opposed by Mong's second wife, Wong Pui-fan.
Wong, who together with her daughter by Mong is a named beneficiary of the tycoon's estate, claims the first wife's offspring are trying to dry out the late tycoon's estate so she will not inherit anything.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor threw out the application by Timmerton, which holds 10 per cent of Shun Hing Holdings, calling it "wholly misconceived" and an abuse of the court process.
The judge said a summary judgment was not an option as the case involved an allegation of fraud by Mong, and noted there were a number of issues that should be resolved in a trial.
For example, the judge said it was reasonable to argue that the funds which Mong allegedly misappropriated were, in fact, his own money, which he had kept with Timmerton, treating it as his "treasury".
The judge also said it was reasonably arguable that a daughter and son of Mong - Cynthia and David, by his first wife - were aware of some of the property transfers made in 2002, since the funds involved the HK$1 billion the tycoon gave to their mother as a divorce settlement that year.
Mong set up Shun Hing Holdings in 1953 and used his father's business links with Panasonic to import Japanese goods. He went door-to-door to sell the first eight rice cookers.
He married Yang in 1958, and had five children. They divorced in 2002. Mong met Wong in 1989. They married in 2005 and had a daughter. He died in 2010.
In his 2007 will, Mong left HK$100 million to Cynthia. He gave David his shares in Timmerton and another firm, which held 40 per cent shares of Shun Hing Holdings, and the shares he held directly of Shung Hing Holdings.