I'm not bipolar, says ex-Sun Hung Kai chief in stand against 'offensive report'

Walter Kwok Ping-sheung launches judicial review of Law Society decision over misconduct complaint

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 7:51am

Ousted Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung has pressed his demand in court for the Law Society to act on the case of a solicitor who allegedly said in 2008 that the tycoon made decisions detrimental to the company.

Kwok said William Kwan Cheuk-yin, a non-executive director of SHKP, had told board members that when he behaved "totally out of character", he would make decisions that "could do harm" to SHKP, the High Court heard.

The allegation was offensive and baseless, Kwok said.

He earlier filed a complaint of misconduct with the society against Kwan, who is a partner of law firm Woo Kwan Lee & Lo, but the society decided not to arrange immediately for a disciplinary hearing. Kwok launched a judicial review yesterday of the society's decision.

Kwan allegedly made the remarks in November 2008, about a year after Kwok fell out with his younger brothers, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, and six months after Walter Kwok was replaced as chairman of the property giant.

In a court submission, Walter Kwok said he met Kwan in the 1970s. The two built up a cordial and trusting relationship, and he recommended that Kwan join the SHKP board of directors as a non-executive director.

Walter Kwok said that in January 2008, his brothers and the board resolved to set up a committee to review the role and power of the executive committee and chairman, without consulting him. He was ousted a few months later.

Then in November, Kwan prepared a report for a board committee, the court heard. In it, he allegedly made the claims about Kwok's behaviour and his potential to make harmful business decisions without consulting the executive committee.

Kwok dismissed the suggestion that he had a bipolar disorder. He said it was also wrong to say SHKP became a premier company in the city because of "the unity and harmony and ability of the [siblings]" and the "collective assistance of the executive committee".

Kwok earlier sent legal letters to Kwan, threatening to sue over the defamatory remarks if Kwan failed to apologise, the court heard.

Kwok was also unhappy with the society's response, in which it had asked him to come back only after he had concluded any other legal action.

He then wrote to the Chief Judge of the High Court, Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, asking him to refer Kwan to a tribunal, bypassing the society. Cheung replied that it was more appropriate for Kwok to pursue a judicial review instead.

Yesterday, Kwok's lawyers asked Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung to order the society to reconsider its decision.

Judgment was deferred.