Former mistress of billionaire 'King of Shoes' in court over disputed flats

Tycoon's former mistress appeals High Court ruling on disputed apartments

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 9:49am

A former mistress of "King of Shoes" Patrick Tang Kim-kwan yesterday appealed against a High Court ruling that allowed the billionaire to regain ownership of property he had bought for her.

In the Court of Appeal, lawyers for Karen Lee Chi-ting, 43 and known as Tang's "third wife", said that testimony had been "lost in translation" during the High Court case.

This had contributed to the English-speaking judge erring in the ruling, Lee's camp said.

Tang, 70, is the billionaire head of the shoe-trading empire ATG Sourcing and has an estimated fortune of HK$2 billion.

He had previously said he waged the court battle because he was "sad and embarrassed" by Lee's fling with former Mr Hong Kong Francois Huynh, which was exposed by a magazine in 2009. News of the secret romance ended Lee and Tang's seven-year relationship.

Yesterday, barrister Albert Yau, for Lee, said that when the High Court interpreter had translated Lee's testimony from Cantonese to English, Tang's intention to buy a Metro Harbour View flat for her as a gift was lost.

Lee had testified that Tang told her that the flat was bought for her so that she had something to "hold on to" - a literal English translation, the court heard.

Yau said there was no identical English word for the Cantonese term, leading the judge to rule that Lee had held the flat in trust for Tang.

"This is a classic case where the meaning is lost in translation," Yau said.

Madam Justice Susan Kwan Shuk-hing yesterday said the Cantonese term in question connoted a number of meanings which could not be carried into the English translation, which she said was "unfortunate".

Yesterday, Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung questioned whether the Cantonese term really meant it was a gift. He said a father who bought a flat for his son would be unlikely to use the same term.

Yau also argued the High Court should have awarded Lee the rights to any profits from the sale of a Royal Peninsula flat by Tang that would take place in the future.

Lee had accepted the judge's finding that she held the Royal Peninsula flat in trust for Tang.

Yau asked the appeal court to order Tang to sell the flat within a particular time period and then hand the profits over to Lee.

In June 2012, the Court of First Instance ruled that Tang could not regain two other properties - an office in Jordan and half-ownership of a house at Marine Cove in Sai Kung - which together are now worth more than HK$20 million.

The three-judge panel yesterday reserved its decision and will hand down a written judgment at a later date.