Late billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum made three payments of HK$688 million to a fung shui master who has laid claim to her vast property fortune, the Court of First Instance was told yesterday on the first day of hearings in the probate battle over her estate. Those eye-popping figures cast doubt on whether Wang, who borrowed heavily to raise the cash, had wanted Tony Chan Chun-chuen to inherit all of her estimated HK$100 billion estate, Denis Chang SC, a barrister for Mr Chan's rival, the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, said in his opening address yesterday. 'He was never Nina's designated heir,' the barrister said. 'If she had chosen him as her heir, he would have inherited the empire.' But the payments were just one of the myriad reasons why Mr Chan's claim on the massive estate was bogus, Mr Chang told Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon. A 2006 will that allegedly gave Mr Chan control of Wang's fortune was written in English, not Chinese, which was her language of choice, Mr Chang said. The terminally ill Wang was too sick to have typed the document, which contradicted her long-held wish that the estate be used to finance charitable causes, he added. 'This sort of document just excites suspicion,' Mr Chang said. 'It is a will that invites the closest scrutiny,' he told the court. Two forensic handwriting experts had concluded that Wang's signature on the will in Mr Chan's possession was fake, the barrister said. Solicitor Winfield Wong Wing-cheung would testify that he saw Wang sign a document that looked similar in format to the 2006 will, but disbursed only about HK$10 million, the court heard. By contrast, Mr Chang said, a will from 2002 that left the fortune to Chinachem had gone through five drafts, was written in Chinese, and reflected Wang's desire to fund good causes. Her charity - which was to be jointly supervised by the United Nations, the central and Hong Kong governments - would create a scholarship as part of Wang's legacy, Mr Chang said. 'It would be the Nobel Prize for China.' He said Wang regarded it as a legacy not just from herself, but also of her husband Teddy Wang Teh-huei, who was kidnapped in 1990 and declared legally dead in 1999. Mr Justice Lam will decide after an eight-week hearing whether Mr Chan or the Chinachem foundation - locked in a bitter legal spat since Wang died two years ago - inherited the estate. Mr Chang did not explain yesterday why Wang would have made the alleged HK$688 million payments to Mr Chan. But the auspicious numbers - 688 - may have been tied to a fung shui ritual designed to help the woman find her missing husband, the court heard. Mr Chan was seen tossing pieces of jade into holes that he had dug on Wang's property, another apparent fung shui technique, Mr Chang said. But Mr Chan had claimed the holes were just a ruse to cover up the couple's long-term love affair. 'All this digging, all this excavation sometimes taking days, was just a masquerade?' Mr Chang asked. He said Mr Chan had counselled local personalities, including former lawmaker Gilbert Leung Kam-ho, who paid him HK$50,000 for his advice before being jailed for three years in 1993 for election bribery. Mr Chan had advised the lawmaker to burn 15 HK$1,000 bills daily for good luck, but he baulked at the plan and burned HK$100 bills instead, Mr Chang said. Mr Chan's barrister, Ian Mill QC, is scheduled to start his opening address today. Sources have said the legal battle over the estate could cost as much as HK$200 million.