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Bruce Lee

Family of 'big-hearted billionaire' who owned Bruce Lee’s Hong Kong mansion in dispute over will

Billionaire left his estate to charitable trust, says grandson in High Court writ that challenges claims by uncle and cousin

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 December, 2015, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 December, 2015, 12:28pm

Late billionaire Yu Pang-lin, who tried to turn one of his properties – kung fu legend Bruce Lee’s former Hong Kong mansion – into a museum before he died left all his assets to charity, according to a court document.

His grandson Pang Chi-ping filed a writ in the High Court yesterday asking the court to declare that the will made on July 21, 2011, was valid and should be executed.

The court action puts Pang at odds with his uncle Pang Ah-fan and cousin Pang San-hon, who each filed a caveat challenging the will to the court in September and November respectively.

Yu, who built up his fortune in hotel and property, died in Shenzhen on May 2 aged 92. It is believed he left over HK$10 billion in his estate.

Pang said the will left all the estate “both real and personal whatsoever and wheresoever to ... the [charitable trust]” that he established in January 2009. He appointed Pang Chi-ping as a trustee last year.

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Pang Chi-ping asked the court to declare Yu’s 2011 will his “true last and final will” and to override the two caveats.

As the case involved a charitable trust, the grandson also included the Secretary for Justice as one of the defendants to play the role of legal guardian.

Solicitor Keith Ho, who represented Pang Chi-ping, said: “The plaintiff will use his best efforts to implement the provisions in the will so that all the assets in the estate of the late Yu Pang-lin will be used for charitable purposes.”

Yu, a native of Hunan province who moved to Hong Kong in 1958, bought Lee’s mansion in Kowloon Tong from Golden Harvest studio founder Raymond Chow for about HK$1 million in 1974 and turned it into a love hotel.

Yu planned to sell the house in 2008 to raise money for Sichuan earthquake victims but scrapped the idea when fans urged him to restore and preserve it. He said he would donate it to the public for restoration.

Yu then negotiated with the government to turn 41 Cumberland Road into a Bruce Lee museum complex equipped with a cinema, library and martial arts centre. He asked that the building’s floor space be increased to 30,000 sq ft.

But the plans never came to fruition and the museum idea was quietly dropped in 2011.