image image

Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s billionaire ‘Toy King’ files lawsuit against Convoy’s former director in HK$309m claim

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 11:23pm

Billionaire Francis Choi Chee-ming, known as the “Toy King”, has launched a lawsuit against his business partner and former Convoy director Roy Cho Kawi-chee, seeking HK$309 million for unpaid loans and interest payments, reflecting the deepening legal battle around the biggest financial scam to hit the city in decades.

The development comes just two days after Choi himself was identified as being added to the list of defendants in an ongoing writ filed by Convoy Global Holdings.

In a court hearing on Tuesday, Mr Justice Jonathan Harris adjourned proceedings until September to allow Convoy’s legal team more time to amend their writ to include Choi among the list of 27 other defendants.

Choi, via his two companies Best Grade and Early Light Industrial Company, submitted the writ as plaintiff against Cho to recover HK$300 million (US$38.27 million) as part of a loan made in August 2016, and unpaid interest of HK$9 million. The writ said the loan was to last for one year at an annual interest rate of 12 per cent and be repaid in instalments of HK$3 million every month. Cho made payments from August 2016 to April 2017 but ceased thereafter, according to the writ.

In submitting the lawsuit, Choi is seen as distancing himself from Cho, a Hong Kong-trained medical doctor who stands accused of being the mastermind in a series of transactions that bilked Convoy of billions of dollars.

Judge extends Convoy court hearing to September, as plaintiffs seek time to add Hong Kong’s ‘Toy King’ to the list of defendants

The two are both involved in a number of companies under joint investigation by Hong Kong's market regulator and anti-corruption body into allegations of fraud involving HK$4.04 billion at Convoy, a local financial services provider that counts the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund as its customer.

In February, regulators from the Securities and Futures Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption searched the offices of Cho’s flagship company Town Health International Medical Group, a clinic operator which he founded.

Will Hong Kong’s ‘enigma network’ unravel with next week’s Convoy court hearings?

Town Health is 18.85 per cent held by Broad Idea International, a company in which Cho owns a 50.1 per cent stake while Choi owns 49.9 per cent, according to court filing in a separate writ.

Crystal Choi, Francis Choi's daughter, is chairman of Town Health, while Choi himself is vice-chairman and non-executive director of the clinic operator.

Convoy has filed three lawsuits against the 27 defendants, which include Cho, in a HK$715 million claim. Cho has not been seen in Hong Kong since November, stirring speculation he may have fled the city.