Nigerian consulate in Hong Kong sued over failure to pay rent at flat linked to late tycoon

Firm owned by Chinachem Investment Company files lawsuit to recover more than HK$290,000

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2017, 11:01pm

The Nigerian consulate in Hong Kong is facing a law suit for more than HK$290,000 over unpaid rent and management fees for a flat owned by a company connected to the late Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, once Asia’s richest woman.

It had not paid fees on the apartment in Pok Fu Lam, located on the 25th floor of a Victoria Garden block, since July 1 last year, according to a High Court writ. But the court document did not name the occupant of the flat.

The writ, filed by landlord Istril Limited last Friday, also alleged that the consulate had failed to pay its electricity bills between September 9 and December 16.

Istril is owned by Hoi Tung Investment Company, which is controlled by major shareholder Chinachem Investment Company. The estate of Wang, late chairwoman of Chinachem Group, owns a share of Chinachem Investment Company.

Istril has demanded the premises be vacated and is seeking HK$290,736 for payments up to January, and HK$47,000 per month onwards, plus interest.

In 2014, the Nigerian consulate of the oil-rich country was sued by two other landlords over a Mid-Levels flat in Kennedy Road for two months’ rent amounting to HK$62,000. Nigeria’s economy has suffered as a result of low global oil prices and rebel attacks on its oil refineries.

A consulate employee who identified himself as the head of administration said in response to the Post’s queries on Monday that the office had yet to be served a copy of the writ.

According to the court document, a two-year tenancy agreement was struck on July 21, 2015, with a monthly rent of HK$44,000. The management fee was HK$3,000 a month and the tenant was required to pay security of HK$94,000, the writ said.

It said despite repeated requests and demands from the landlord, the consulate had failed or refused to pay the arrears and outstanding sums.

“As a result, the plaintiff has suffered losses and damages,” it said.

Wang died of cancer in 2007 following a lengthy legal battle over her husband Teddy Wang Teh-heui’s fortune after he was declared dead in 1999 – nine years after he was kidnapped and never seen again.

Her death triggered a new round of battles over the huge estate, this time between the Chinachem Charitable Foundation and self-styled fung shui master Peter (then called Tony) Chan Chun-chuen, who claimed to have been in possession of a will from her. Chan lost and was jailed for forgery.