'Shoe King' describes ex-lover's affair
A sensational court fight between 'King of Shoes' billionaire Patrick Tang Kim-kwan and his unfaithful mistress reached a climax yesterday as he told of how he discovered her affair with a young television actor.
The heat was turned up further when Tang's former lover, Karen Lee Chi-ting, took the stand and said he had sought to smear her by saying she was a habitual liar.
Lee, 42, also said bluntly that she did not consider Tang, 69, 'very rich', saying he was never on par with the likes of Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, or tycoon Lau Luen-hung.
Tang, who heads the shoe-trading empire ATG Sourcing and has an estimated fortune of HK$2 billion, is seeking to recover three properties in Lee's name and proceeds from the sale of another flat.
In the Court of First Instance, Tang told of his suspicion that Lee had a lover behind his back before her six-month fling with Mr Hong Kong Francois Huynh was exposed in 2009. He said he first had suspicions in 2008 when he saw another man's name, not Huynh's, on a tag attached to Lee's travel suitcase, but he did not pursue the matter.
He learned about Lee's affair only through a magazine expose in 2009. He repeatedly questioned Lee on what she did with the actor during a seven-hour stay at a hotel, he said.
Initially, Lee insisted that they only chatted the whole night, Tang recalled. But after a long argument, she told him: 'I did sleep with him. Bite me.'
Tang then wrote to a senior TVB official, Virginia Lok Yee-ling, in an attempt to get Huynh to break up with Lee. The fiasco led to the actor forsaking his entertainment career.
Tang maintained that he had been cautious about his relationship with Lee during their seven years together and had never intended to give the properties - in Sai Kung, Hung Hom, Tsim Sha Tsui and West Kowloon - to her as gifts.
He claimed she was only holding the properties in trust on his behalf. 'We didn't have a marriage certificate. We could fall in love and make love today, but we could say bye bye the next day,' he said.
Lee's lawyer, Selina Lau, suggested that Tang's motive for bringing the lawsuit was to seek revenge by disclosing her private matters in a media-packed courtroom.
'I'm the one who is embarrassed by her,' he said. 'Our relationship has come to an end and there is no turning back. I still have to face my wife. I don't need to take revenge.'
Lee, testifying for the first time on the third day of the trial, said she was unhappy the plaintiff had portrayed her as a liar by suggesting she had been untruthful about a pregnancy to coax Tang into buying her the Hung Hom flat.
'[Tang] is trying to smear me by saying I lied to him about when my menstrual period was suspended and when I got pregnant,' Lee said. Tang earlier testified that Lee claimed to have conceived in December 2002 but a medical report showed it was in March 2003.
'I couldn't have kept a lie for three months, while he continued to have sex with me during that period,' Lee said. 'He would have found out.'
Tang earlier told the court that they first had sex just 10 days after they first met. But Lee said it was two months after they met and 10 days after their relationship started.
Outside court, Tang said: 'I only want to get what belongs to me. Do I have a grudge against Karen Lee? I don't know this person at all.'
He had to break up with his other mistress, Bessie Lau, after both affairs were exposed. But his marital relationship was not affected, he said.
'I'm so handsome. I am such a kind person. I go back home every day. If you were my wife, you would find it sweet, too, wouldn't you,' Tang said outside the court to a female reporter.
The hearing continues before Deputy High Court Judge Anthony Houghton.
The estimated fortune, in Hong Kong dollars, of the 'King of Shoes' Patrick Tang Kim-kwan