Take 2 in HK$80m Stephen Chow case

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 5:52am

A company linked to Stephen Chow Sing-chi yesterday won leave to appeal against a court ruling that it must fight a claim for HK$80 million from the comedian's ex-girlfriend.

Deputy High Court Judge Michael Burrell - who stopped Star Royal striking out the claim against it last month - gave the company permission to appeal against his own ruling.

Alice Yu Man-fung, Chow's girlfriend between 1997 and 2010, is suing the film star as well as Star Royale for HK$80 million she says she is owed in commission for getting Chow involved in the lucrative Skyhigh redevelopment on The Peak.

Star Royale argues that the dispute is between Yu and Chow and the claim against it should be dropped.

Giving his decision, the judge said he was satisfied the appeal had a reasonable prospect of success and that the prospect was "not fanciful or plainly hopeless".

The judge did not require a higher test of a "good and promising prospect of success".

Neville Sarony SC, for Yu, argued that the company was seeking to "kill the case" by getting the claim against it struck out.

But Wilson Leung, for Star Royale, said there was no suggestion of any deal between the firm and Yu on the share of the ownership of the property, nor could Yu establish any fraudulent conduct involving his client.

Leung said the claim was unfair to the company and to Chow. "There is a reasonable chance that the appeal court will take a different view," he said.

Star Royale is jointly owned in equal shares by the Ryoden Group - a Hong Kong-based international conglomerate - and a family trust, in which Chow is one of the beneficiaries.

Yu claims Chow has an interest in a house at Skyhigh that he could sell for HK$800 million and says her agreed commission was 10 per cent.

On paper, Star Royal is listed as the owner of the house.

When he dismissed Star Royale's application to strike out Yu's claim without a trial last month, Burrell had said there were questions for the court to decide as to who controlled the company.