A company linked to comedian Stephen Chow Sing-chi lost its bid to strike out a claim by his ex-girlfriend for HK$80 million in commissions, in the Court of First Instance yesterday.
Alice Yu Man-fung, Chow's girlfriend between 1997 and 2010, is suing the film director and Star Royale for a commission that she says she is owed for getting Chow involved in the lucrative Skyhigh redevelopment on The Peak.
Yu claims Chow has beneficiary interest in a house at Skyhigh that he could sell for HK$800 million and her commission is 10 per cent.
Star Royale had earlier asked the court to strike out Yu's claim against it, saying that the commission agreement was a personal one between Yu and Chow, to which it was not a party.
The company is listed on paper as the owner of the house.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Michael Burrel dismissed Star Royale's application to strike out Yu's claim without a trial. He ruled there was question for the court to decide who controls the company.
The judge said that inferences about who controls the company might be drawn from the fact that about HK$15 million in commissions Yu has already received was paid by the family trust partly owns Star Royale.
Burrel also noted that there was no evidence of any lease or rental agreement between Chow, the occupant of the house, and Star Royale, the owner.
Yu's suit involves one of four properties in Skyhigh, a joint venture between Star Royale and Ryoden Development. Three of the properties were sold - the third, owned by Ryoden, for a record HK$800 million last May.
The fourth, owned by Star Royale, is Chow's current home. Yu is suing for a 10 per cent commission in the hope that it would also fetch HK$800 million.
Chow - recently appointed to the Guangdong chapter of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference standing committee - is a beneficiary under a family trust that owns 50 per cent of Star Royale.