A Beijing district court yesterday granted Kim Lee, the American wife of Crazy English founder Li Yang 12 million yuan (HK$14.78 million) of her husband's assets in a divorce triggered by domestic violence, Xinhua reported.
The divorce proceedings lasted more than a year, and the Chaoyang District People's Court in Beijing also awarded Lee an additional 50,000 yuan for mental anguish she endured in the abusive marriage. Li will also have to pay 100,000 yuan in annual child support for each of his three daughters, with their mother granted custody.
Crazy English is an unorthodox language-learning programme that emphasises oral learning, particularly by shouting, and it has attracted about 20 million practitioners.
In August 2011, Lee posted pictures on her microblog showing bruises inflicted by Li, and it set off a wave of debate about domestic violence. She filed for divorce that October, and they had since been fighting over child custody and asset division.
The court's ruling is expected to foster awareness about domestic violence. Speaking to the media, Lee was overjoyed to tears, and urged mainland women to stand up for their rights. She said the divorce was "unpleasant", but she said she would not stop Li from visiting the girls. "If he wishes, I can arrange for people to pick up the girls," she said.
The court found that Li abused his wife on multiple occasions, including in February 2006 and August 2011. The court found the 2011 incident constituted domestic violence under the mainland's marital laws, prompting the awarding of 50,000 yuan for her mental anguish.
In the child custody matter, the presiding judge consulted the couple's eldest daughter, Li Li , 10, who said she preferred to live with her mother. The court said the children had been living with their mother, so it did not want to disrupt their lives more than necessary. The other girls are aged six and four.
The 12 million yuan must be paid through asset division over the next three months. Lee told the court that Li owned more than 20 properties in Guangzhou and Beijing, had bank savings, held stock in five companies and owned 23 registered trademarks.