Chinachem digs into funds to support charity work

Business arm funds assistance while court battle over will's terms continues, says Molly Gong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 4:27am

Property giant Chinachem's business arm has been using its own money to support philanthropic causes as its lawsuit over the charitable foundation that was set up by late billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum drags on with the government.

Molly Gong Chung-sum, Wang's younger sister attended a charity event organised by the real estate developer yesterday, while the legal battle over the Chinachem Charitable Foundation goes on.

Gong said Wang, who was born in Shanghai, wished to dedicate her money to Hong Kong, which was her second home.

"The [Chinachem] Group's work [on charity] is always going on. It's never stopped," Gong said. "The normal charitable work is continuing and it has even increased."

The government won the case in the High Court earlier this year in determining that Chinachem should hold Wang's HK$83 billion estate in trust, rather than as an absolute beneficiary, under her will.

As a trustee, the foundation must carry out the terms of Wang's will, including performing charitable works, rather than receiving the estate as a gift free of obligations. It will have to carry out the terms, no more, no less.

The foundation contended it was an absolute beneficiary and could decide on its own how to use the funds. The Kung family is believed to have filed an appeal against the ruling in March. An appeal date has yet to be fixed.

Gong refused to say at this stage whether the foundation would continue to take its legal battle to the top court should the appellate court rule against it.

Meanwhile, former fung shui guru Peter Chan Chun-chuen - who attempted to claim Wang's estate - was sentenced to 12 years' jail last month for forging and using a fake will.

Gong had told the Court of First Instance her first impression of the 2006 will Chan presented was "impossible" and "definitely not the style" of her sister.

While Chan has filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence, he has said his life as an inmate was a "new life arranged by God to give him a new opportunity".