Brothers and tycoons bid farewell to real estate mogul Walter Kwok at funeral
- Sympathies expressed by top Beijing leaders including Premier Li Keqiang
- Jailed brother Thomas Kwok wrote of happiness seeing his late brother just before his death
Real estate mogul Walter Kwok Ping-sheung was given a grand send-off on Thursday in a funeral service attended by fellow Hong Kong tycoons and lined with wreaths sent by top Beijing leaders including Premier Li Keqiang.
The service for the former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, who died on October 20, revealed also how the three Kwok brothers, including the jailed Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, had held a rare reunion before his death.
Kwok had been in hospital since suffering a stroke in late August.
His funeral service took place at St John’s Cathedral in Central, which was decorated with an array of wreaths from political heavyweights.
The names of Li as well as vice-premiers Wang Yang and Han Zheng appeared on the wreaths to the right of the church’s entrance.
Chan was the highest ranking government official to attend the ceremony.
In a booklet given to guests, Kwok’s siblings expressed love for their late brother.
Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, now serving a five-year sentence for bribery, wrote that he was engulfed in sadness after learning of his brother’s passing.
“It means so much to me that I could see you last week, with all three brothers holding hands in unity … Even though I may not be there with you at the service, I continue to pray for you, brother and everyone.”
Ending his note, he wrote: “Goodbye for the moment.”
Thomas Kwok’s son Adam and daughter Noelle attended the funeral service.
Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, also present, wrote in the booklet that his brother had “gone too early”.
“I remain grateful for knowing you as my brother, you will remain my brother,” Raymond Kwok wrote.
Wendy Kwok Lee Ting-wing, Kwok’s widow, left only a short message: “I will miss you … until we meet again.”
The funeral service began at 11am and was officiated by Reverend Canon Peter Koon Ho-ming, who serves as provincial secretary general of the Sheng Kung Hui, the local name for the Anglican church.
As church bells tolled, Kwok’s coffin was carried to the cathedral’s steps by eight pallbearers led by Hopewell Holdings chairman and managing director Gordon Wu Ying-sheung and Sino Group chairman Robert Ng Chee Siong.
The six other pallbearers included Great Eagle chairman and managing director Lo Ka-shui; CK Hutchison Holdings chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi; sports sector figurehead Timothy Fok Tsun-ting; Henderson Land Development Company vice-chairman Colin Lam Ko-yin; real estate sector lawmaker Abraham Razack; and businessman Lincoln Soo Hung-leung.
Outside the cathedral, more than 100 wreaths sent by leaders of business and real estate crowded the forecourt.
At 12.40pm, the hearse left for Cape Collinson Crematorium.
Walter Kwok’s life had been turbulent.
A dispute with his brothers led to his ousting in 2008 as chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties – one of the city’s biggest property companies – and he was removed as a beneficiary of the family trust in 2010.
Kwok regained his place in the trust after striking a deal that led to his permanent departure from the company.
The tycoon was also the victim of a kidnapping in 1997, when he was taken by gunmen working for gangster Cheung Tze-keung.
He was held captive for six days and later said the incident sent him into depression for a year.