Estate of chef in soccer bets suicide hit with bank demand over HK$2.7m debt

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 July, 2014, 5:26am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 July, 2014, 5:26am

The estate of television chef Lau Ka-lun, who recently committed suicide after reportedly losing a fortune on soccer bets, has received a bank demand to repay a debt of more than HK$2.7 million, according to a court writ.

Nanyang Commercial Bank is seeking HK$2,753,088 - which includes the outstanding principal and interest - from Lau's estate. Payment was due on July 8.

If the estate and its co-defendant, Siu Yee-foon, fail to pay on time they are also required to pay interest based on a yearly rate of 11 per cent until the debt is fully resolved, the court document reads.

The High Court writ filed on Friday said the bank granted a non-revolving loan of HK$4 million to Luk Yik Seafood Wholesale Company in July 2012.

An investigation by the South China Morning Post found that Lau was the sole director of the seafood wholesaler, which is located in Lau Fau Shan.

The Land Registry shows that Siu co-owned a home with Lau at Fairview Park in Yuen Long. The nature of their relationship is not known.

Besides the loan - which was to be repaid in 60 monthly instalments - the bank is also asking the High Court to consider making the two defendants bear the legal costs of the case.

Lau's body was found next to burnt charcoal in his home on June 19. It was reported that he killed himself over massive debts resulting from failed investments on the mainland and his losing bets on soccer matches.

Lau's death came as a shock to the local culinary community, as the young chef had always been thought of as a role model who established his food business with his own hands.

The 30-year-old - who occasionally appeared as a co-host on TVB'S Eating With Madam Wong - first became interested in cooking when he was aged eight, and began helping out at his family's restaurant at 13. Three years later, he was promoted to head chef.

His restaurant, Happy Seafood in Lau Fau Shan, is a frequent haunt of seafood lovers. According to a government website, Lau had awards from Les Amis d'Escoffier Society, a culinary club, and French cooking school Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts.