Hotung's HK$120m divorce payment 'beyond his ability to pay', court told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 4:04am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 4:04am

It was "quite beyond the ability" of Michael Hotung to pay his former wife, ex-TVB actress Katie Chan Fok-sang, lump-sum maintenance of HK$120 million, a court heard yesterday.

Hotung's assets consisted only of some properties and about 50 per cent of the shares in a few offshore companies, barrister David Pilbrow SC said.

In an earlier ruling that awarded the lump-sum payment to Chan, a High Court judge had erred in capitalising all of Hotung's assets, Pilbrow said.

"It is quite beyond the husband's ability to meet [the payment]," Pilbrow told the Court of Appeal.

When the couple divorced in 2010, Chan was awarded monthly maintenance of HK$323,000 and education expenses for their two children. Hotung kept up payments until November 2011, but then started giving just HK$40,000 a month, on top of the education expenses. Chan applied for financial relief and was awarded the lump sum in March last year.

Yesterday, Pilbrow told the court that Hotung worked in real estate in San Francisco after his studies. Hotung returned to Hong Kong in the mid-1980s and was "given a title" in a family company but "no real work", the barrister said. He met Chan in 1987 and they married in 1989.

Pilbrow argued against the lower court's finding that Hotung got more than HK$46 million after he auctioned off watches. The lawyer said the court failed to note that Hotung had a loan with the auction firm, which left him with just US$46,000. Hotung also claimed to owe his mother more than HK$110 million.

Hotung is a great-grandson of influential tycoon Sir Robert Hotung, the richest man in Hong Kong a century ago. His mother, Winnie Ho Yuen-ki, is the estranged sister of gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun.

The hearing continues today before Madam Justice Maria Yuen Ka-ning, Mr Justice Aarif Barma and Mr Justice Ian McWalters.