Star wins legal round against ex-lover

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 4:50am

A judge has rejected a statement of allegations against film star and comedian Stephen Chow Sing-chi made by an ex-girlfriend in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over fees she claims he owes for her financial advice.

Alice Yu Man-fung, Chow's girlfriend between 1997 and 2010, claims that they agreed he would give her a monthly fee for investment advice plus 10 per cent of any after-tax profits that resulted.

She is suing Chow for fees she says are owed for a development on The Peak. Four houses were built and Yu claimed she was paid after the sale of the first two. A third house, belonging to a partner in the venture, sold for HK$800 million, and Chow moved into the fourth house. Yu says that she is entitled to a fee of at least HK$80 million. She filed a statement of claim - a document containing a plaintiff's allegations in a lawsuit - to the court but later amended it.

Chow, writer, director and star of Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, asked the Court of First Instance to strike out the amended statement of claim - which it did yesterday in a written ruling. Yu now has 41 days to file a re-amended statement of claim. If she does not, her lawsuit against Chow will be dismissed.

Her lawyer Andrew Lam Ping-cheung said Yu would appeal, adding: "The beauty of this town is the appellate procedure."

Yu had argued that she was entitled to the fee because Chow's decision to move into the house amounted to "an act of proprietary ownership" equivalent to a sale of the property, according to the written decision handed down yesterday.

But the court said a sale meant a transfer of ownership of property. "Merely because an owner exercises his right of occupation of his own property comes nowhere near such kind of transactions," Mr Justice Andrew Chung On-tak said in the decision. He said the fee Yu sought was "at the very least incomprehensible".