Hong Kong courts

Controversial ex-care home chief ‘made himself company director behind majority shareholders’ backs’

Cheung Kin-wah at the High Court over application to Companies Registry he made nine months after being revealed to have escaped prosecution over sexually assaulting a disabled woman

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 10:43pm

A former care home chief put himself in charge of the home’s parent company behind the backs of its majority shareholders, just nine months after he was revealed to have escaped prosecution over the sexual assault of a mentally disabled woman, a court heard on Thursday.

Cheung Kin-wah, former superintendent of the now-defunct Bridge of Rehabilitation centre in Kwai Chung, made himself director of Cheer Holdings Limited, the move which is now being challenged at the High Court.

Cheung was accused of the attack on a 21-year-old woman, who had a mental age of eight, in 2014. But the case was dropped because prosecutors thought the woman unfit to testify. His involvement in the case was revealed in October last year, when he lost his claim for legal costs.

The centre, now out of operation because its licence was revoked, used to be under Graceful Home, owned by Cheer Holdings.

Despite owning just a fraction of the shares in Cheer Holdings, Cheung successfully applied to the Companies Registry in July this year to appoint himself director of both that company and its subsidiary Hong Kong Treasure Int’l Limited, the High Court heard on Thursday.

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Hong Kong Treasure owns properties, some of which are used as shelters.

Cheung told the registry that the previous directors Chow Ho-yan and Chow Siu-chi – who between them owned 70 per cent of Cheer – had been removed by a meeting of shareholders. Both Chows have said they were not at any such meeting.

Cheung’s application sparked legal action against him by both companies, culminating in Thursday’s hearing.

Lawyers argued that Cheung was not validly appointed, and asked the court to quash his applications and therefore his current status as listed director. Failing that, they said, the court could order a general meeting for a new round of voting.

Mr Justice Anthony Chan Kin-keung gave both Cheung and the two companies time to submit further evidence in preparation for a trial scheduled for next year. He reminded Cheung of the complications he could face as director of the company, and that shareholders could still vote him out. “If [Chow and Chow] are in truth shareholders, you cannot resist the order for a shareholders’ meeting,” the judge said.

The sex assault allegations only came to light when the District Court handed down a ruling against Cheung in October last year, nine months before he approached the registry. He had tried to claim back his costs for the collapsed case against him.

The scandal prompted 80,000 Hongkongers to sign a petition demanding action amid doubts about the government’s efforts to monitor care homes and its ability to protect the mentally disabled.

In November last year, the Social Welfare Department revoked Bridge of Rehabilitation’s licence.