Joseph Lau’s ex-girlfriend says she doesn’t want court battle as tycoon prepares for estate fight
Statement from Dr Yvonne Lui Lai-kwan follows report that Lau gave HK$10 billion to partner and son in case of litigation after his death
Fugitive tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung’s ex-girlfriend Dr Yvonne Lui Lai-kwan said in a surprise announcement on Monday that she had no desire to take her family matters to court amid speculation of a possible estate fight.
The statement followed a report last week in the Apple Daily which said Lau was understood to have given HK$10 billion in total to his partner Chan Hoi-wan and his son Lau Ming-wai in preparation for any litigation that might be mounted by Lui to fight for his estate after his death.
“Dr Lui wants Mr Lau to be assured that she has no desire to initiate any court proceedings against Mr Lau or anyone else and would prefer to live her life without the ongoing involvement of lawyers,” she said in a statement issued by law firm Withers.
“Dr Lui is certain that Mr Lau shares that view and will also agree as a loving co-parent to their children that the time has come for further press speculation and intrusion into her and the children’s family life to come to an end, without the ongoing involvement of lawyers and press.”
The statement was issued after Lau, 65, announced in a full-page statement printed in several newspapers last week that he had ended his relationships with Lui, 37, in 2014.
According to that statement, Lau maintained contact and correspondence with Lui, a former Miss Hong Kong semi-finalist, solely because she was the mother of his two children. Lau even said that he had given Dr Lui “money, jewellery and other gifts” with a total value of over HK$2 billion.
In an interview with Apple Daily later, Lau accused Lui of being greedy, saying: “Even you give her HK$10 billion, she will still betray me for HK$1 ... she’s greedy forever.”
Lau said he had given “billions” each to his long-time partner Chan Hoi-wan and his son Lau Ming-wai. Ming-wai’s mother was Lau’s ex-wife Theresa Po Wing-kam, who passed away in 2003. The money was given to them in case the tycoon died and Lui wanted to take his family members to court for the money he left behind.
The newspaper said the sum involved was understood to be HK$10 billion.
Lau and Chan have two children.
Lui said in her statement that she was aware that the concept of common-law marriages did not exist in Hong Kong. She was advised by Withers that in relationships where a couple had not been married but had had children together that the rights of the partners in that relationship were very different from those of a spouse whose marriage had broken down.
“The focus of the law in such unmarried relationships is all on the children, not the former partners. If the court has to intervene at all then the court wants to protect the best interests of the children but particularly their emotional well-being,” the statement said.
Lui also expressed “sadness” at the remarks the tycoon made last week, calling them “unfortunate”.
“[Lui] has seen and read the recent various press releases and conferences from [Lau] with some sadness as she thinks it is unfortunate that matters concerning the relationship they have had and their children should be published in this way,” her statement said.
“Dr Lui does not want their children to be the subject of discussion amongst their peers or in the press. Dr Lui is not going to debate matters concerning the relationship she has had with Mr Lau nor their children in public, nor matters relating to her finances.”
The statement added: “Suffice to say Dr Lui believes her relationship with Mr Lau remains cordial, as one would hope and expect of parents who continue to collaborate in the best interests of their children. Dr Lui wants no more from Mr Lau than to be able to effectively co-parent with him.”